GRANTS PASS – According to the results of an online survey, the City of Grants Pass Dine in the District parklet program has been a success for the city’s downtown Central Business District. The nine-question survey was forwarded to more than 100 email addresses associated with businesses, restaurants, and owners of buildings in the district. The city received 38 responses, with most respondents in agreement that the program served to off-set restrictions imposed by state mandates as a result of the Covid-19 illness.
“Ninety-two percent agreed that this does help with the Covid-19 restrictions,” said City Manager Aaron Cubic in a presentation delivered to the City Council at their workshop Monday, Aug. 17.
Cubic reported 84 percent of respondents agreed the program was an innovative and appropriate use of city funds to assist economic development recovery in the wake of Covid-19.
He also reported that 89 percent of respondents agreed the program has increased dining traffic at local restaurants, and 66 percent agreed the program increased customer foot traffic in the district as a whole.
More than 70 percent of respondents agreed the value of the program to the downtown district outweighed the inconvenience of lost parking spaces on the street.
“Again, over 70 percent are in favor of the program you implemented,” said Cubic to the Council.
More than 75 percent of respondents supported the idea of seeing the program expanded in some capacity or returning the program as a regular, seasonal feature. In a similar response, nearly 65 percent of respondents support the idea of the parklets returning every summer, or perhaps becoming part of a permanent, more attractive fixture of downtown.
“That plaza concept is something we are slowly trying to develop,” said Cubic.
According to the survey, the largest area of potential improvement to the program revolved around the aesthetics of the parklets. Concrete traffic barriers were used in most cases to create the parklets in time for their use for the summer season. The available barriers gave the parklets an industrial look, many saw as unsightly.
“Many restaurants really tried to spruce them up a bit,” said Cubic.
Nonetheless, more than 78 percent of respondents said more attractive barriers would be an improvement to the program. More than 43 percent suggested the parklets should be created in such a way to eliminate the step down off the curb into the space.
“If we could devise some way to make these more attractive, I think it will be helpful,” Cubic said.
The pilot program was established for a 90-day period, which expires Sept. 17. Cubic said he would return to the Council with further details to seek their direction about the future of the program.
“If Council gives direction, we can make it better,” he said.