Sunday, June 23, 2024

Nearly 1,000 survey responses: 97% favor closing downtown Wilmington streets for restaurants and shops [Free]

A proposed plan would close downtown streets to help restaurants and retail shops cope with restrictions on capacity when they are allowed to reopen during Phase 2 of the state’s plan. (Port City Daily photo / File)

WILMINGTON — Results are in from a survey testing the public’s response to ‘Downtown Alive’ — a proposal to close downtown sidewalks and streets to allow restaurants and shops to open while still adhering to social distancing regulations: with nearly 1,000 responses, the vast majority favored the plan.

With 964 survey responses from residents and business owners, 96.87% percent favored the plan (929 in favor, 30 against, and 5 non-responses).

Almost all (99%) respondents considered themselves to be ‘patrons’ of downtown businesses. A small portion of those responses was from downtown bar, restaurant, and retail business owners (4.15%, 3.43%, and 6.86% respectively, with some overlap possible). In total, 73% of those business owners said they would stay open for extended hours (you can find the complete survey results at the end of this article).

And, while the survey noted that the plan would only be for the duration of Covid-19 social distancing regulations, many of the comments suggested making the street-closure a permanent move; it’s not the first time the idea has been suggested, but it’s likely to be easier to implement as a temporary measure.

The survey was launched last week by Wilmington’s Downtown Businesses Alliance to gauge support for a plan to “close Downtown streets adjacent to restaurants/bars/retail and allow restaurants and bars the ability to expand seating onto the sidewalk in front of their building and possibly into the street parking spaces. The streets will be designated as pedestrian use.  Retailers will have the ability to expand their wares onto the sidewalk in front of their shop as well.”

The proposed plan would become possible during Phase 2 of Governor Roy Cooper’s three-phase reopening plan; it would be implemented part-time, limited to Thursday and Friday nights and weekends.

DBA – Downtown Alive Final … by Ben Schachtman on Scribd

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