The Business Improvement District (BID) has voted to support placing more parklets in front of restaurants for outdoor dining. By endorsing the parklet and Al Fresco dining project, the BID’s board of directors is helping to bring an outdoor dining environment to the City’s downtown. The BID is coordinating with Perth Amboy’s Office of Economic and Community Development (OECD), which developed the pilot project last summer. Perth Amboy plans to increase the number of outdoor dining spaces in the city’s downtown district this summer.
The OECD is also joining with Mayor Wilda Diaz and the City’s departments including Police, Fire, Public Works and other agencies to move the project ahead. The OECD plan encourages restaurants, cafes and eateries to use a portion of the sidewalk in front of their premises and two curbside parking spaces to create an outdoor space for diners.
In presenting the plans at BID meeting, OECD’s Business Manager Maritza Rodriguez said, “Our mission is to assist local restaurants that want to offer their patrons the option of dining outdoors. We are developing guidelines, with input from many city departments, for attractive outdoor dining spaces that safely screen diners from vehicles and traffic on the street. At the same time, we want avoid blocking or restricting access to fire hydrants, manhole covers, storm drains, bus stops or lighting fixtures.”
Last summer, the OECD piloted an outdoor dining project with a restaurant on State Street. The Mi Tierra Restaurant set up a 44-foot-long by 8-foot-wide platform next to the sidewalk in the space previously occupied by two parking spaces. Tables and chairs were placed on the platform and heavy-duty concrete planters were installed around the newly-created dining area.
“Guests thoroughly enjoyed dining outdoors,” Ms. Rodriguez said. “The restaurant’s business increased and they plan to offer al fresco dining again this summer. We are working with a number of local restaurants that are planning to provide outdoor dining as soon as late May or early June.”
Before starting the outdoor dining project, the OECD team visited communities across the Garden State to see how they had created curb-side and sidewalk spaces for Al Fresco dining
The OECD team presented its recommendations to the BID board for creating parklets in the downtown area for Al Fresco dining. The plans, which will be thoroughly reviewed by the city’s departments include the following:
- Install heavy-duty, attractive concrete planters to create a private, protected areas for diners
- Place materials resembling athletic field artificial turf on the street
- Arrange tables and chairs over the “turf” surface
BID Chairman Barry Rosengarten said: “We completely support the Al Fresco Dining project. Creating more opportunities for people to dine outdoors in the downtown area offers many advantages and serves the business owners as well as our residents. To show our strong support, the BID is forming a committee that will work directly with Ms. Rodriguez and OECD’s Program Manager Max Vazquez.”