Breckenridge businesses give mixed response to Walkable Main not returning
Many Breckenridge business owners were not happy to hear that Walkable Main would not return to town this summer, while others felt unaffected by the decision.
Alex LaMarca, owner of Crêpes à la Carte, said it’s unfortunate that the Breckenridge Town Council decided not to reinstate Walkable Main this year.
LaMarca said while it was a good advantage for the town and its people, he doesn’t see his business taking a hit without the amenity this summer. He said he’s more concerned about the environmental impact, as he appreciated the reduced circulation of cars.
“Not just for the coronavirus, but for the idea of just being more environmental, I thought it was a great idea,” LaMarca said.
Karen Archibald, manager at Blue Moose Restaurant, said while she personally enjoyed Walkable Main last year, it had no impact on her restaurant, which is located just south of where the closure started on Main Street.
“The feedback that we got from most of the guests that would come in here is they really enjoyed it,” Archibald said.
When the town of Breckenridge surveyed locals asking for feedback on Walkable Main, 86% of residents and 83% of businesses that responded supported its return. The issue for the council, though, was that the support was conditional on various changes respondents wanted to see.
Other concerns from council members included traffic circulation, public safety and staffing for businesses.
Breckenridge Pour House owner Jake Dickinson said Walkable Main “allowed us to continue to function as a business.”
“We probably wouldn’t have survived if that wasn’t going on,” he said.
For Dickinson, the absence of Walkable Main this year is “disappointing concerning the fact that we’re still not completely back to normal.”
Dickinson said it’s great that businesses can return to full capacity now that Summit County is in level green, but he said Walkable Main added an opportunity to create more business.
“It helped create a family dynamic for the town where people felt casual and not concerned about cars and were able to shop a little bit more casually than being crammed on the sidewalks,” Dickinson said. “It created a nice summer atmosphere that I think everybody enjoyed, COVID or not.”
Burl Gibson, owner of The Lost Cajun, said last year’s Walkable Main had “zero impact” on his business, as it already has a plethora of outdoor seating options.
He said setting up and tearing down tables on Main Street was inconvenient, and guests to his restaurant did not want to sit out on the hot pavement.
“Even if they were going to do it this year, we were not going to participate,” Gibson said. “Walkable Main was, in my opinion, a complete disaster.”
Joey Drake, manager at the Mountain Top Cookie Shop, said while he personally would have preferred to see Walkable Main return this summer, he understands why the council decided against it.
“I felt like the local establishments definitely benefited from the street being closed down because … it made people be here for longer or just walk into more places they wouldn’t necessarily go into because it’s close by,” Drake said.
He added that finding parking in downtown Breckenridge became more of an issue once Main Street was closed. Drake said he’d love to see Walkable Main return in the future, but it might be better once there are more parking options.
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