BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — Outdoor dining has become a big plus for many businesses following the COVID-19 shutdown.
Now, businesses in Bowling Green could be getting some help when it comes to creating an outdoor space for dining. Bowling Green City Council is looking into the possibility of adding "parklets" to their downtown streets.
"It's basically on-street dining decks that convert a single parking space into usable space for adjacent businesses. Thinking more long term, this is going to help us create a more vibrant downtown," said at-large city council member Jeff Dennis.
Dennis said they plan to use about eight of the nearly 200 street parking spaces in downtown Bowling Green for parklets.
As the plan stands right now, the parklets will only each take up about one parking space on the street in downtown Bowling Green. Councilmembers who want these additions claim they don't think it will affect overall parking downtown.
"We just really feel it's really critical that we're doing everything we can to help these businesses open fully and safely as the summer approaches," said Dennis.
Christina Tracy is the co-owner of Juniper Brewing in downtown Bowling Green. The coffee shop/brewery opened its doors during the pandemic and is on board with anything to expand outdoor seating.
"We're beyond excited. The parklet idea, to us, really aligns with us with what we're trying to achieve with the overall experience of Juniper," said Tracy.
Councilmembers are currently working on a fundraising effort to build the first few parklets. However, businesses will have to take on the added expense of keeping them clean and furnished.
The next council meeting is Monday, April 19 and Dennis expects the plan to be approved, which could bring the parklets to downtown as early as this coming June.