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The public attends the Athens City Council meeting in Athens City Hall on Monday, February 3, 2020.

City Council: Parklet pilot program to possibly be extended

Athens City Council met in committee Monday to discuss extending a pilot program that provides additional seating for Uptown Athens businesses through parklets.

The pilot program, which began in August, allows for business owners to apply for the use of parking spaces outside of their buildings to provide extra seating for customers. Currently, Brenen’s Coffee Café is the only business that has installed a parklet, Athens Deputy Service-Safety Director Andrew Chiki said.

Jessica Thomas, co-owner of Brenen's, said the additional seating space has been well-received by customers and hopes that other businesses install parklets as well. The parklet at Brenen’s provides 10 extra seats.

“If some other businesses do it in the future it’s a great compromise between street closure and no street closure,” Thomas said. 

Beth Clodfelter, D-At Large, believes additional outdoor seating is especially helpful during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“During this COVID pandemic, providing more outdoor seating is one of the safest things we can do to both support our locally owned restaurants and to try to keep people safer,” Clodfelter said.

Council also discussed the temporary closure of Arts/West and the financial problems it has faced due to COVID-19. 

Mayor Steve Patterson suggested providing additional streaming services in order to begin to safely reopen Arts/West. 

City Auditor Kathy Hecht said because of COVID-19, Arts/West is not bringing in enough money to remain open currently.

“The bottom line is the cost, when you're not bringing in any money we can't afford to keep the doors open,” Hecht said.


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