Closure of Mulberry Street in Fruita could become permanent
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) – The City of Fruita is considering making the closure of North Mulberry St. a permanent closure.
The city closed this section of Mulberry St. around the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to help local businesses that were forced to close. The area provided chairs and tables to give people a place to eat outside when eating inside was not an option.
Now the city is considering keeping the closure permanent, but it wants the community to have the final say.
“To make this a permanent space, we want the community to be supportive and supportive of the idea,” said Ciara DePinto, Fruita City’s communications and engagement specialist. “But we’re also open to maybe it’s only being closed for special events, or maybe we’re making improvements along the sidewalks instead of shutting everything down. So it’s really up to the community to decide what they would like to see happen. If everyone wants it to reopen, that’s also an option.
The city has launched an online survey to see what residents and visitors to Fruita would like to see happen regarding the development.
“Nothing is set in stone yet,” DePinto said. “We are in the first phase, you know, we are just gathering feedback from the community, wanting as much as we can. The survey is open to the community, we have also met with many businesses in the area as well as stakeholders.”
At this point, there are no specific plans as to what might be developed, but DePinto says the survey has different ideas the city is looking at.
A local business owner, Fred Martinez, whose establishment is west of Mulberry St., has seen firsthand the impact the closure has had on his business. Marine’s has co-owned Sud Brothers Brewery since it opened ten years ago. He said once the pandemic hit, they were forced to close for 45 days due to indoor COVID restrictions.
“And then as it progressed, we could have a limited amount of indoor seating, and that was about when the city came up with this idea,” Martinez said. . “Which allowed people to enjoy the outdoors and yet the facilities around could bring them food, or they could bring them food and take it out there.”
He said the closure brought a lot of people to downtown and he supports my closure. He believes that a permanent closure will benefit the community.
“It’s a neat little interaction between the companies in my opinion,” Martinez said. “I think it’s going to help attract and keep more and more local people.”
According to Martinez, the community has embraced Mulberry’s closure and would even buy food from restaurants across town and still bring their meal when it closes.
“They were actually buying the food from these facilities by bringing it in and enjoying it outside here,” Martinez said. “So we’ve seen a lot of this beginning of a northerly trend, which has created a kind of really neat little atmosphere in downtown Fruita, which I think has been good for the whole community.”
Martinez, however, said not everyone was excited about the potential permanent closure. He said some had expressed concerns about parking in downtown Fruita.
“A lot of citizens feel that parking should have been a priority before a business like this happened,” Martinez said. “I get it. Parking in downtown Fruita is limited to say the least.
Martinez said he favors the closure, as long as the area is properly developed. He would like to see outdoor toilets installed, for example.
For more information on closing and the online survey, please visit: https://www.fruita.org/cd/page/north-mulberry-street-outdoor-space-project
The survey will be open until May 15. The community will also have the chance to have their say at the Fat Tire Festival from May 6-8.
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