By NANETTE LoBIONDO GALLOWAY
VENTNOR – It’s been talked about for a few years, but within a month or two, Ventnor will get its first “parklet” or “streetery” in the South Beach section of the city.
The parklet concept was pursued by Commissioner Tim Kriebel who has seen them create center of place in other cities around the country.
“They started in San Francisco to bring people to the downtown,” he said.
Kriebel has been talking about bringing the parklet concept to Ventnor since he was elected and believes that parklets create a more vibrant, communal and safer environment for downtown businesses.
“They bring people to the business district, and the people wind up shopping in other stores. Someone may stop and get a cup of coffee, sit for awhile and wind up getting ice cream at the business next door,” he said.
Kriebel said he searched for a supplier that is affordable and would provide a single unit on a trial basis.
The Board of Commissioners Thursday, Sept. 15 approved the purchase of the first-ever “streetdeck” modular unit from Archatrak of Bozman, Montana, at a cost of $14,912. The first self-contained streetdeck will be shipped to the city within a matter of weeks and it will be installed on Martindale Avenue near Ventnor Avenue next to Cookie Till’s No. 7311 small batch bakery.
“There’s a lot of activity there, and it will expand the sidewalk seating area without creating obstructions,” he said. “If it doesn’t work out there, we can move it to a different location.”
Although the parklet will take up a parking space, or maybe two, it can be beneficial for businesses that have limited interior space. During the colder months, it can be removed and stored under a tarp at the Public Works yard until the warmer weather arrives.
“May hope is that after one season, if the public is receptive, we can have more of them installed.”
The modular unit is a platform with adjustable legs for leveling, and planters that provide beauty and safety. They can seat four to six patrons at a couple of tables.
“My prediction is other neighborhoods and businesses will like the idea and ask us to add more especially in the summer season.”
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