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Close Hendersonville’s Main Street on weekends? Plan would allow expansion of outdoor retail, dining space ... with social distancing
Monday, 18 May 2020 22:24

From Staff Reports


HENDERSONVILLE — A plan recently was unveiled to close — temporarily — Main Street in Hendersonville to traffic on weekends to allow downtown restaurants and retail businesses to expand their spaces outdoors into the street to recoup for the loss of customers due to social-distancing restrictions.

The restaurateurs as well as the retailers suffered a major financial hit during the roughly six-week closure required under Gov. Roy Cooper’s statewide directive from from late March until May 8, as the coronavirus pandemic struck.

Hendersonville City Council was briefed during a May 8 meeting on the “Open Main Street/Love Hendo” plan drafted by the Downtown Hendersonville program.

Main Street closure would allow for restaurants to expand outside dining, and retail businesses would be able to set up spaces outdoors as well during Friday evenings — as well as all-day and into the night on Saturdays and Sundays.

In addition to Main Street, the city is also considering waiving parking requirements for restaurants citywide so that they would be able to extend outdoor dining into their parking lots.

Downtown Economic Development Director Lew Holloway said the plan could begin as early as Memorial Day weekend (May 22-25) — alongside the governor’s expected decision to reopen restaurants — and would end Nov. 1.

Under the plan, the Main Street closure would extend from Sixth Avenue to Allen Street, but avenues would remain open for traffic to flow, the Hendersonville Times-News noted on May 9. Holloway acknowledged that some avenue businesses would be left out. The challenge with closing the avenues, he said, is that they are narrower than Main Street — and they are sloped.

“The plan was widely supported by the City Council,” the HT-N reported. “Holloway said downtown stakeholders and merchants he has spoken to support the plan as well.”



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