The idea comes from the McKinney Restaurant Council, who is taking cues from other cities that have adopted parklet programs to allow for additional distance between restaurant patrons, according to McKinney City Council meeting documents.
At a Dec. 1 McKinney City Council work session, city staff presented options for ways to use and regulate outdoor spaces. At the Dec. 15 meeting, Assistant City Manager Kimberly Flom said these regulations include a certain height for the barrier around the parklets as well as one parking space instead of two for parklets in certain situations, Flom said. Parklets will also be limited to one per city block.
Two of the parklets will be created using funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, and they should be installed by the end of the year, Flom said.
“We received four applications of interest from downtown businesses and are currently working with them individually to make sure they qualify and get that parklet utilized in the best way possible,” Flom said.
Mayor George Fuller said he understood there was some concern from businesses that these would take away from parking in downtown and obstruct some views.
“I feel strongly that when these are implemented and people see people dining in that kind of interaction outside, it usually will generate traffic as a synergistic thing,” he said. “They will probably find that that business actually is enhanced by having people eating out in front and the community really getting engaged.”
City Council approved an ordinance enacting the parklet program until July 31 or until the state’s indoor occupancy limit is rescinded, whichever comes first. The program can also be renewed by McKinney City Council.