During a weekly joint press conference on Friday afternoon, Mayor John Hamilton announced plans to close sections of Kirkwood to vehicular traffic 24/7 through the end of the year. Those sections are between Dunn and Grant, and from Washington to Walnut. The block between Indiana and Dunn will be closed weekends only. North/south cross streets will remain open.
Since this summer, sections of Kirkwood have been closed from Thursday through Sunday to allow restaurants to set up tables for customers in the street. It allows for additional seating with distancing requirements due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some restaurant owners have been advocating to keep the closing throughout the week so that they can set up tents with heaters during inclement weather.
The City of Bloomington has started a pilot program to convert parking spaces into additional spots for outdoor dining in the downtown area. Restaurants that want to create these “parklets” can apply to the city, which will then install barriers to protect the seating area.
Businesses can apply online here. More information is available on the city's business resource page, or contact Kaisa Goodman at email@example.com.
The program will be available at least through Sept. 30.
If you missed the outdoor dining along closed sections of Kirkwood last weekend, you'll have another chance soon.
The Kirkwood Community Association is planning to close off two sections from Friday, June 26 at 5 p.m. through Sunday, June 28: 1) between Grant and Dunn, and 2) between Dunn and Indiana. They'll check the weather forecast on Thursday to confirm the closing, according to Bob Costello, the KCA president and owner of Village Deli.
The first weekend of closing Kirkwood, from June 19-21, was viewed as a success. Participating restaurants with expanded outdoor seating included Village Deli, Nick's English Hut, Osteria Rago and Lennie's.
They'll skip July 4 weekend, Costello said, but hope to continue the closure for future weekends throughout the summer. The closure allows restaurants to expand their outdoor dining areas and give pedestrians a safe way to walk past as the community continues COVID-19 physical distancing.
Director of Advocacy & Public Policy