2012-06-17 at 15:47
The Waterfront District BIA is looking to expand the sidewalks St. Paul Street.
Plans for the changes to St. Paul Street can be seen in this Tbnewswatch.com photo on June 17, 2012.
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The Waterfront District BIA is looking to expand the sidewalks on St. Paul Street to 15 feet in order to have outside patios available for customers.
Port Arthur BIA vice-chair Jim Comuzzi said they have been looking to expand the sidewalks for about two years now for businesses on the one-way street.
He said they will also be adding benches, trees and new street lights similar to the ones found in Waverly Park.
“What we want to do is bring a revitalizing to the downtown,” Comuzzi, who owns Rooster's Bistro on St. Paul, said. “The Dawson Street trail is being revitalizing from Red River Road down to Cumberland Street. So there’s a number of things that the downtown BIA is doing to improve the visibility and accessibility to our downtown core.”
In order to have the sidewalk extended, the parking along the street will be reduced from 31 spots including handicapped parking to 29. The majority of parking will be on one side of the road.
Comuzzi said they would be piggybacking on the construction of the street when the city rips up the road in order to replace the sewers.
”The sewer and water were in place last year however we asked for that to be postponed,” he said. “I don’t believe this will cost the taxpayers any more money than what it would have cost. The project I believe has gone out for tender.”
Comuzzi said despite losing two spots, in the end they will be revitalizing the downtown.
“We’re going to have a water station as well as hopefully an electrical station so we can close down the street and have fairs or farmers markets,” he said.
“They are telling us that having patios on sidewalks is allowed and we will be allowed to serve onto the street alcohol if we wish to. However, no one has given us a license to do that. We’re trying to work with the city to come up with a plan that will be beneficial for property owners.”
He added they would be only able to have the patios out for about five months out of the year.
Current River Coun. Andrew Foulds said anything that provides new opportunities for a better downtown experience was worthy of consideration.
“That’s just one more thing we can do to bring people downtown,” Foulds said. “I think it would be a wonderful evening to go downtown and be able to have a patio dinner, taken in a show and then walk down our pathways down to Prince Arthur’s Landing for an ice cream.”
The project is expected to being in August.
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