Parklets for outdoor dining could be sticking around in Reedley

About nine parklets are currently set up in the downtown area, but keeping the parklets would come with some challenges.
REEDLEY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Outdoor dining has become popular at Mainstreet Café in Reedley.

"For the most part, a lot of people love sitting outside because you get a front row of Reedley. You get to be out here, and we've never had that before," said Carrie Gutierrez.

Gutierrez runs her family business and says the parklets helped them continue serving customers during the pandemic. Now they're still enjoying the extra space.

About nine parklets are currently set up in the downtown area, mostly related to food service businesses.

The city is in talks with the owners to learn more about what they and the community want moving forward.

But keeping the parklets would come with some challenges.

"Our downtown is a shared parking district, so that has been the largest challenge of all is the fact that taking up any parking spaces, with uses outside of parking, your vehicle can create an additional challenge for access to businesses," said Rob Terry, development director for Reedley.

Terry says the city is improving its parking lots that are behind the G Street businesses.

The parklets are sticking around, at least for now.

"In line with the request that was made by Governor Newsom to continually allow for these types of outdoor activities to be in place. Through the end of the calendar year, we are going to be in lockstep with that," Terry said.

The parklets were funded by COVID dollars from the city, and businesses have been maintaining them. But any plans to make them more permanent would go to the planning commission and then the city council.

"The consensus that we get from our customers is they really enjoy them. They would really like them to stay, and so would we," Gutierrez said.

Some business owners say the parklets have also created a greater sense of community as people socialize while dining outdoors.

City officials tell Action News they hope to have a parklet plan solidified in the fall, so when 2021 is over they'll have guidelines for the future.

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