The City of The Dalles has signed a $50,000 agreement with The Dalles Main Street to expand local businesses’ use of outdoor space through the end of October.
That ending date is “just because we thought that was kind of the end of the good weather season,” said City Manager Julie Kruger during a July 13 city council meeting, “and if we need to, we can revisit it again in the spring.”
The temporary program expands the existing downtown parklets program and allows businesses to use private parking areas and public sidewalks for outdoor dining and retail activity. Businesses can also utilize sidewalk extensions and raised pedestrian detours to maximize their space.
“We already have 11 businesses that have signed up to get one of these platforms put in front of these businesses,” said Don Warren, president of The Dalles Main Street, “… Every one of those 11 businesses said ‘we just need the sidewalk bypass, we don’t need a parklet, because we want to operate our business as close to our doors as possible.’”
Both the parklets and the sidewalk bypasses will use the same 8×16 platforms, Warren said, designed to fit within a single parking space. Main Street is working with The Dalles Ironworks and The Dalles Public Works to come up with a durable design.
The Dalles Main Street’s existing parklet program allows businesses to request a parklet for the summer, at no cost to the applying businesses. Businesses must reapply each year, and Main Street assembles the 8×20-foot structure in May and removes it for winter storage in November.
Even though they use the same base platform, sidewalk detours are cheaper to construct because they don’t require topiary or other embellishments, Warren said.
After the temporary program ends this year, Warren said that Main Street will store the platforms for businesses to use next year — even if COVID restrictions are no longer in place.
“Regardless of whether there’s a virus or not, these are great opportunities for businesses to have more on the street and visibility and as we get more people looking at cool things going on downtown, the more people hit the sidewalks, the more people on the sidewalks, the more purchases are made,” said Warren.
The Dalles Main Street will manage and operate the temporary program, and the $50,000 city investment (taken from an Economic Recovery line item in the city’s 2020/21 Fiscal Year budget) will go towards design, construction, maintenance and management of platforms.
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