Some downtown Bloomington restaurants expanded outdoor seating into blocked-off parking spaces, or parklets, Wednesday.
There are now 11 parklets set up for these 14 restaurants:
Cup & Kettle Tea Co.
Butch’s Grillacatessen & Eatzeria
Three of the parklets are used by two restaurants each that are close together. The restaurants that share a parklet are: Social Cantina and SmokeWorks, The Inkwell and Orbit Room, and Village Pub and Cup & Kettle Tea Co.
Other downtown eateries interested in expanding or adding outdoor dining can request a parklet by filling out a Google form. The requests will be reviewed by the city and decided based on factors such as balancing needs for expanded seating and availability of parking, safety and feasibility of implementation, according to a press release from the City of Bloomington.
The restaurants do not need to pay a fee for the parklets.
Some of these spaces were made available because the city closed off three sections of Kirkwood Avenue to motorized vehicles from March 25 to June 30, according to the press release. The three sections marked as pedestrian only for about three months extend from Indiana Avenue to Dunn Street, Dunn Street to Grant Street and the west half of the block between Walnut Street and Washington Street.
The city implemented the parklets, blocked off portions of Kirkwood and added more 15-minute pick-up and drop-off parking spaces to increase foot traffic downtown and help Bloomington restaurants and other businesses recover from financial losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the press release.