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Posted on: May 17, 2022

Parklets Arrive in Downtown Amherst

outdoor dining parklet install in downtown amherst

The Amherst Business Improvement District (BID) is very excited to announce the award of an $80,750 grant from the Regional Economic Development Organization (REDO) Grant program! The grant will cover the materials, labor, and insurances for 2-3 ADA accessible “parklets” to accommodate outdoor dining spaces on Amity Street and South Pleasant Street. Florence-based construction company, Keiter Corporation, is constructing these attractive, sturdy and professionally designed and built dining areas. We are thrilled to be working with this group of contractors. In addition to the work being done by Keiter, Evan Jones from Cowls worked with the BID to procure the materials at a reduced cost to the BID. Cowls is proud to be supporting this pilot program for prolonged attractive outdoor dining in the heart of downtown. The Amherst BID is managing this project with support from the Amherst Planning Department staff.

BID ED Gabrielle Gould, "The Town and BID did a remarkable job pulling together much needed outdoor dining 2 springs ago to keep our businesses afloat, this is the natural next step to a better way to keep this wonderful concept going. Lemonade out of lemons – perhaps Covid will give us decades of outdoor dining where before there was none!”

The intention of the “parklets” is to create a pilot program of ADA accessible outdoor dining areas extending out from the sidewalk, at the same level of the sidewalk, and as wide as two parallel parking spaces. We hope these will be received well and that we can extend this program in the future if the community sees value in this program.

The sidewalk next to each “parklet” location will be maintained as a pedestrian pathway.

Each “parklet” will be located in front of a designated food & drink establishment for that establishments use.

Amherst Planner Maureen Pollock stated, “the main goal of this project is to help activate the downtown streetscape by providing extended sidewalks to serve as outdoor dining spaces, to attract residents and visitors and support local businesses. As the Town explores urban design standards and streetscape designs for the downtown, this pilot project is an excellent opportunity for all stakeholders to learn from and enjoy.”

The grant is funded through the Massachusetts Office of Business Development and is being administered through Western Massachusetts Economic Development Council.

The parklets are expected to be fully constructed by the end of the week. 

(Copy from an Amherst BID Release)

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