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Longmont's Main Street set for a remodel by reimagining outdoor seating

Longmont parklet
Posted at 4:54 PM, Apr 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-02 17:39:39-04

LONGMONT, Colo. — Whether you’re eating at a restaurant or learning pottery, nothing makes you want to spend time outdoors more than when the weather is great.

"You would never think that people would paint pottery outside but we found out last year that there were a lot of people who loved it so we hope to be able to put as many tables outside as we can," said owner of Crackpots, Tamar Hendricks.

Hendricks says last year when the city closed down two lanes of traffic and put up concrete barriers allowing for outdoor seating it was beneficial for many businesses.

"A lot of businesses totally used the space but there were definitely some who didn’t want it," Hendricks said.

For that reason, the city is switching up its approach and building parklets, a designated area in parking spot for outdoor seating.

"The full version will be 20 feet long and take up the entire parking space," said transportation planning manager for the City of Longmont, Phil Greenwald.

$300,000 split between a grant from the Colorado Department of Transportation and the City of Longmont will create 30 parklets spaced throughout main street.

"You can sit out into the parking areas in front of the businesses that would like to have the outdoor space but still provide parking," Greenwald said.

But owner of La Vita Bella, Todd Eichorn, isn't entirely convinced.

"I really just don’t see it, I really don’t, I don’t know what the advantage is and I don’t know if people are going to sit out there," Eichorn said.

Eichorn would have rather seen dividers like what was in place before and doesn’t think the money was spent wisely.

"To me the dividers were proven to be safer, brought more traffic and just made the town more exciting," said Eichorn.

For the city, parklets are an investment that can also be moved around as they wish.

"We really think that it is not only going to help the businesses that have seating but also help everyone to make people want to hang here and investigate all the wonderful businesses as they walk up and down the street," said executive director of the Longmont Downtown Development Authority, Kimberlee McKee.

A compromise between what was done before and not doing anything at all. The parklets are set to roll out between mid-May and early June and will last through October.