Mt. Pleasant Plans to Expand Outdoor Seating District This Yr, Traverse City Will Not Close Front Street

The pandemic allowed communities to get creative with outdoor seating in their downtown area.

Last year Mt. Pleasant closed part of Broadway Street for community members and local businesses. This year they are bringing it back due to population demand.

“The opportunity to have them outside was enormous for us,” says Chris Walton, owner of Max & Emily’s Bakery Café. “Aside from being in the middle of a pandemic, anything you can do to get people outside is a great thing.”

Walton says the Broadway Street closure last year allowed him to serve more diners under state restrictions on indoor dining.

“People used tables and chairs, they wanted to be outside, they wanted to be socially distant, to greet a friend or to eat together, but you can’t do that in a restaurant,” says Walton.

The Mt Pleasant Downtown Development Authority (DDA) says the community response has been overwhelming. Because of this, by popular demand, they are planning to bring it back this year …

Michelle Sponseller, director of the mountain. Pleasant DDA says: “Last year we were in triage mode, so to speak. Just close this and get some seating. But we weren’t too concerned about looks. “

The sponsor says that not only will they expand it, but they will add a little shine as well:

“Not only are we going to have picnic tables and umbrellas, but we’re going to put some lights on outside so it looks really festive.”

The closure of Broadway Street to Union Street in Mt. Pleasant will begin May 1 and will last through approximately mid-October.

Traverse City has decided not to lock down part of Front Street, as it did last year, due to future road construction projects.

Jean Derenzy, CEO of Traverse City’s DDA, says, “These improvements are really making an impact on traffic patterns, so this year won’t be the same.”

But Derenzy says Traverse City is looking at other options:

“Every community is different and you need to work with and work with the community you are responsible for and the companies that are there to find out what is the right approach for them.”

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