By Clayton Cummins – Multimedia Editor
You may not be able to recognize some parking spots in downtown Grand Rapids this summer. The Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority (DDA) has approved a plan that will allow turning parking spots into outdoor seating.
The DDA approved a plan on July 9 that will allow “parklets” to be installed in front of three downtown businesses that will extend their outdoor seating. McFaddens, Grand Rapids Brewing Company, and Stellas will all be adding “parklets” to parking spots outside of their respective business.
The patio-type seating is temporary for the summer and will add space for approximately 20 more people (or 5 tables) for businesses that normally don’t offer outdoor seating for customers. The cost
install one “parklet” is $27,000.
Many “parklets” already exist across the country. Cities such as San Francisco have already adopted the idea and have gotten creative with the parking spaces.
Many think turning parking spots into an outdoor patio is a great idea.
Some in Grand Rapids are concerned about safety. “I’m not sure I want to eating lunch or dinner in the middle of traffic, not with the way some people drive downtown. No way!” said Patty DeVries.
Local businesses aren’t left with the entire bill. The DDA has agreed to pay half of the cost leaving the business to pay the rest of the bill. If “parklets” turn out to be successful, they may be installed every summer.