As I watched the Fenton City Council meeting last week from the comfort and safety of my home, I was curious as to what plan they would come up with to help restaurants and retailers increase their business during this COVID-19 pandemic. There were fewer than a dozen people logged into the Zoom meeting and there were no comments from the public.
I was glad to see that the city leaders were discussing and approving the idea of letting restaurants and retailers expand their areas into the sidewalks and roads for a few evening hours two days a week. This idea, which is optional for the businesses to take part in, could be a great opportunity to showcase their creativity.
With the streets closed to vehicle traffic, people can spread out and enjoy the downtown area.
My husband and I regularly walk downtown and visit several of the businesses. Since it’s usually after business hours, we park in The State Bank parking lot and walk a big loop around town. We’ll head south, stop at Bridge Street Exchange, maybe dine at Ciao Italian Bistro, stop at the farmers market on Thursdays, check out the beautiful flower boxes, take in the views of the Shiawassee River and sculptures and see if we know anyone fishing or enjoying a frozen custard. We’ll continue south and check in at Yesterday’s Treasures and then sometimes we visit The Laundry for a cocktail or appetizer.
At this point we start heading north on the other side of the street. We will stop at the retail shops that are open to see what they are offering.
While we are all coping with this pandemic the best we can and in our own ways, you’d have to admit that the tri-county area has had some beautiful weather this summer, which is perfect for taking an evening stroll. Getting out in the fresh air and walking for enjoyment and exercise helps build our immunity. Based on the number of others who are also walking the downtown area, I am not the only one who feels this way.
I welcome and look forward to heading downtown on Thursdays or Fridays to see what our local businesses, run by local residents, are doing. I feel that I need to support them now more than ever so that they will be there for when this pandemic is over.
I appreciate Fenton city leaders and our local business owners for experimenting with this opportunity.
Sharon Stone is the editor of the Tri-County Times. To contact her, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at (810) 433-6786.