This will serve as a test pilot, staff said at the Aug. 11 city council workshop. The idea came about because social distancing and lower occupancy requirements are in place for retail businesses and restaurants, and expanding outdoor pedestrian space could result in more patrons.
Businesses in other areas of the city can utilize their parking lots for expanded space, but downtown businesses are limited due to public parking and right of way, staff said, adding that crowding on the sidewalks is dangerous and can discourage patronage.
No special license will be required for businesses to participate and use the closed parking spots for more seating over Labor Day weekend. The city will manage it, and the estimated cost for the pilot is $4,000 for traffic control and signage.
A longer-term solution is also in the works, staff said, in which the city would regularly close off streets while ensuring the safety and function of the roadways. That solution would likely cost about $8,500.
The final program will come before council Aug. 25 for approval.