City moves to open up dining, pedestrian opportunities
If everything works out, the city of Canby, in collaboration with downtown businesses and support from the Canby Area Chamber of Commerce, will launch a plan to provide some extra space for pedestrian, shopping, and dining activity in downtown Canby this summer.
The plan, which has not been finalized yet, would close a half block on Northwest Second Avenue to traffic on the last weekend of each month through September. The final weekend in July will be the opening weekend.
"We hope that this effort compliments the Canby Farmers Market activity on Saturday mornings, and provides extra seating for dining establishments, which may have had to reduce their seating capacity indoors," explained Jamie Stickel, economic development director. "You may even choose to bring your own chair and have the unique experience of enjoying your coffee, pastries, lunch or dinner while seated in the middle of Canby's main street."
The project is based on a similar activity in Portland called the Safe Streets Initiative. The goal in Canby, Stickel said, will be to give businesses some extra space to expand their seating, as well as giving people some extra space to move around safely.
"We are still working on the finishing touches to this," said Stickel. "We are going to host a meeting with local businesses that will be directly impacted by the plan, then we hope to have it in place by the end of July."
The new program, if approved, is part of the Economic Development Department's continuing search for "ways to engage the community and put them in front of businesses and give them a reason to come downtown," explained Stickel. "Our small businesses need more traffic, so we are looking for ways to support that."
Stickel reiterated that she has been impressed with what she has seen from Canby's small business community and pointed to them being "extremely creative" in the way they continued to reach out to the community as the pandemic and stay-at-home order changed everything.
"It has been an interesting time, but business has not stopped," she said. "And we're really busy working to find new ways to engage our small business community."
For now, though, the hope is that the city can free up more space in Canby's downtown, Fridays through Sundays, the last weekend for the next three months.
"Please continue to observe social distancing within the 'Streatery' and be sure to patronize the surrounding businesses while visiting — Barn Door Boutique & Decor, Canby Gifts and Toys, Gwynn's Coffeehouse, Wayward Sandwiches, Panaderia Oaxaca, and Pappy's Greasy Spoon are just steps away from this location and remain open for business," Stickel said.
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