By Joe Bachman
STEVENS POINT — City officials moved towards the idea of allowing businesses to install parklets in areas of Stevens Point.
Parklets serve as miniature parks, to provide outside seating to local area businesses. According to the city, business parklets would offer a “new place for people to stop, sit, and enjoy the life of the street. As an important note, the city will not fund these parklets, but it the cost will be on business owners who would seek to install them outside of their business.
“I can tell you that there have been three parklet programs that have been approved and implemented on a temporary basis, and they’ve all been successful,” said Mayor Mike Wiza to commission members. “This is the next step in that parklet program.”
The parklet program seeks to enhance the downtown area, spark the local economy, and increase street safety. These structures would be seasonal, and would be able to be removed before winter months. Fees for these parklets would be $150 for any business desiring a parklet outside of their establishment. Additional fees would apply if alcoholic beverages would be served at a parklet.
All parklets must also be accessible as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act. (ADA) The parklet must also be set 18 inches from the adjacent parking space on either side. According to city officials, since parking spaces would be lost from the installation of various parklets, the maximum allowed number in the downtown area would be limited to 12, while the southside would be limited to only six.
According to city documents related to parklet guidelines:
“Parklet design must include a physical barrier along the street while maintaining clear visual sightlines to the street. Vertical elements, such as planters and umbrellas, should be included so that the facility is visible to vehicles. x To protect a parklet in a parallel parking space from parking maneuvers, substantial planters, weighted bollards, or other structures that can withstand light vehicular impact, must be installed on either end of the parklet and at the street edge. Parklets in diagonal parking spaces are not required to have such substantial edge materials, except for the side and corners at the street edge. Additional traffic safety items may be added to the final design by City staff.”
City officials approved the guidelines for future parklets, and the process will continue on through the months on the road for final approval.