City crews were out on Main Street Oct. 16 bright and early to remove structures that had become a fixture in the downtown scene over the past few months.
Parklets were brought to Anamosa and approved by the city council in June for a brief trial period were removed after the trial period for the structures ended.
The goal of the parklets were to provide outdoor spaces for businesses to utilize downtown to try to get more visible activity surrounding downtown businesses. The five parklets were placed in front of area restaurants: Tucker’s Tavern, Grounds & Goodies, Tyler and Downing’s Eatery, Los Tres Agaves and the Anamosa Bowling Center. For those that were given the parklets, they found they got good value from the experience.
Especially given the coronavirus pandemic, Grounds & Goodies Owner Mary Oldham said that customers enjoyed being able to space out and enjoy drinks and food outdoors and not in the more enclosed space of the shop. She did note that weather was obviously a contributing factor to how much the outdoor seating got used.
“I think it’s worked for us once the weather’s been a little more cooperative,” owner of Tyler and Downing’s Eatery Dirk Downing said.
Jason Gonzalez from Los Tres Agaves said their parklet had also gotten positive feedback from their customers, who enjoyed the outdoor option.
Though there were positives, that doesn’t mean there weren’t improvements to be made moving forward. Downing said that because their restaurant was in front of a handicapped parking spot, the placement of the parklet wasn’t the most convenient.
“I’m enthusiastic about it. With the pandemic, outside dining’s been critical,” Downing said, adding he was grateful that the city sponsored the idea.
All three said they would like to see the parklets return in 2021. Though in 2020, the parklets were exclusively in front of restaurants, when initially discussing the possibility of the parklets in the spring, council members proposed changing up where the parklets were set every year. That included giving them to different businesses and a variety of business types down the road if the program proved successful.