Port Dover Main Street sidewalk patios planned for this summer

he pop-up patio on the sidewalk and extended wooden bump-out sidewalk in downtown Simcoe last summer is being planned for up to three locations in Port Dover this summer. Photo by Aaron Gautreau on Twitter

Two or three sidewalk patios could be coming to downtown Port Dover this summer.
In an extension of the pilot project started on Norfolk Street in downtown Simcoe last summer, County officials told Port Dover Board of Trade members last Thursday that it is looking to expand the concept to Port Dover.
The bumpouts create a wooden walkway in the parking spots in front of a business so that the sidewalk area can be used as a patio.
Jim McGimsey, general manager of Downtown Simcoe BIA, told the meeting the concept had worked well in Simcoe last summer.
Sidewalk patios are seen in a growing number of communities to help make downtowns more appealing.
As well as Mr. McGimpsey, Kayla Rell and Pam Duesling of Norfolk County Community Planning outlined the concept and answered questions.
Ms. Duesling stated, “we are hopeful to start this project right away.” The pilot project in Port Dover would help the planning department test assumptions that will help in forming policy for the future.
The patios would be in place from May 24 to Thanksgiving.
Last year’s cost to construct, install and remove each bump-out was between $2,500 and $3,000.
In Simcoe, the cost was split between Norfolk County and Downtown Simcoe BIA. Port Dover Board of Trade made no financial commitment to the project.
The meeting learned that three Main Street eateries have expressed an interest in participating in the plan — Lago, Schofield’s Bistro and Trish’s Tearoom & Bakery. County officials said other Main Street businesses could call them to express interest.
Ms. Rell said each site would undergo a site inspection “to assess feasibility.”
Mr. McGimpsey said the project benefits the whole downtown and not just the business with the patio. While agreeing the “situation in Port Dover is different than in Simcoe,” he said the project creates a visible change in the downtown.
Currently, the County has the idea that three bump-outs would be right for Port Dover.
Mr. McGimpsey stated “we need feedback to what is the best fit for businesses here.” The long range plan seems to be to install sidewalk patio bump-outs in other Norfolk communities.
Those at the meeting had questions regarding benefits and drawbacks of the plan.
Members expressed concern about losing parking spaces in downtown.
Katie Buck of Buck’s Orchard Beach Park commented that downtown “parking has been whittled away and whittled away” with parking spaces lost due to sidewalk bump-outs at intersections that were installed in last year’s Main Street reconstruction, as well as the loss of other parking spaces. Noting the increased traffic in summer months, she said, “Norfolk County doesn’t take our situation into consideration” mentioning that perhaps “there is a need for some diagonal parking” which would provide additional spaces.
Paul Babcock of Stoney’s Home Hardware asked if a traffic study had been done. Other members asked about liquor licensing and sidewalk codes.
No work could begin until after the top layer of asphalt is applied to the downtown blocks dug up last fall.


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