Breckenridge passes resolution for pedestrian-only Main Street
BRECKENRIDGE — Breckenridge Town Council on Tuesday gave a green light to close portions of Main Street to vehicle traffic so that it can serve as a pedestrian walkway.
While the council was somewhat split on the issue due to the low level of interest received from restaurants, members agreed to move forward.
The resolution gives Town Manager Rick Holman the power to decide which businesses are eligible to expand into the street and what “terms and conditions” are necessary for businesses to use the street space during the closure. Holman also can determine the time frame and boundaries of the closure, which is planned for 200 N. Main St. to 400 S. Main St. Town Clerk Helen Cospolich said the closure of Main Street is planned to begin June 12 and to last for about eight weeks.
The resolution cites a Colorado Revised Statutes section that gives the town the authority to temporarily close any portion of a highway or public street under the town’s jurisdiction to vehicular traffic during a specified period of time for “special local events” or civic functions where closure is necessary for safety. The resolution notes that in the wake of COVID-19, Town Council wants to “allow and encourage” businesses located on Main Street to temporarily use portions of the street to operate their businesses.
Businesses owners that would like to participate should work with Holman to acquire a written agreement with the town, according to the resolution. The agreement requires that businesses provide the town clerk with proof of commercial general liability insurance and liquor liability insurance if alcohol will be served within the town’s right-of-way. The resolution also requires that the town is added as an additional insured party under the businesses’ commercial general liability insurance policy.
The Main Street pedestrian walkway plan includes giving each participating restaurant 340 square feet of outdoor space, time limits with a cutoff at 9 p.m. each day and protocols for retail that allow businesses to display merchandise in front of their stores, Holman explained.
He said the town sent a message to about 30 eligible restaurants with liquor licenses to gauge the level of interest. The deadline for restaurants to express their interest in participating is Wednesday, May 27. But the day before the deadline, the town had heard from only 14 interested restaurant owners. Holman listed some of the concerns he has heard, which include the decrease in parking and an unfair advantage to restaurants that reside in the area as opposed to those that do not.
“I am disappointed in the number of restaurants out of the shoot that have said they would do it,” Mayor Eric Mamula said. “I think that’s a bit of an issue. … This was really a bone to throw to everybody, and if most or half don’t want it, I don’t know that we want to do this.”
Mamula added that the pushback the town has received on the idea is not unexpected but that he thought there would be more buy-in from restaurant owners. Council member Jeffrey Bergeron asked whether there could be a smaller closure instead, which Holman countered, saying the town then would hear complaints from business owners who get cut out. Mamula said another option would be to close Main Street to vehicular traffic and make it a pedestrian walkway for people to maintain social distancing, eliminating the outdoor dining piece.
“I feel like we have enough traction to give it a go,” council member Dick Carleton said. “We’ve always wondered what it would be like to close Main Street, and this is our chance. I think we do it.”
Council member Gary Gallagher also agreed to move forward, pointing out that while the plan will not work perfectly, the idea is “worth a shot” and “better than doing nothing.” Holman pointed out that this would cost the town about $20,000 in materials such as portable toilets.
Mamula sat out the vote because he owns a restaurant on Main Street. The six council members voted to pass the resolution.
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