December 2, 2021

Special meeting on outdoor seating tonight

Travis Dunn/staff reporter

This pocket park between the Community Restaurant and Pawn Boss in this March Cortland Standard file photo is one area of Main Street slated for a major facelift as part of the city’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative.

The Cortland Common Council has scheduled a special meeting tonight to vote to open outdoor seating locations in alleys, streets and parking lots downtown.

The proposal would create outdoor seating:

  • In the pocket park at 14 Main St.
  • In the alley between 31 and 33-35 Main St.
  • In the parking lot behind Brix and the Downtown Deli at 54-60 Main St.
  • At the end of Clayton Avenue between the Dark House Tavern and the Cortland Post Office.

The proposal would require the temporary closure of the Main Street end of Clayton Avenue and the West Court Street side of Haskell Place, which is parallel to and west of Main Street, said Mayor Brian Tobin. Several public parking spots behind Brix and the Downtown Deli might also be temporarily converted into seating areas.

Tobin said he was calling the special meeting to get the outdoor seating up and running as quickly as possible.

“I think it’s fantastic,” said Tammy Timmerman, president of the Cortland County Tavern and Restaurant Association. “It allows people to get their takeout and their takeout cocktails and enjoy the summer weather that’s coming and I hope the city council supports the local downtown businesses.”

In order to use these spaces, businesses will have to submit diagrams of the outdoor seating spaces and provide plans on how the areas would be monitored for safety, according to the resolution. The resolution would also give the mayor power to revoke approval for these outdoor seating areas “if there are public safety or other strong concerns.”

Tobin said the resolution is intended to help downtown businesses as they begin to re-open.

“We want to help restaurants. We want to help bars. We want to keep our businesses going,” Tobin said, and encouraged other business owners to suggest public areas that might be used for outdoor seating.

“Tell me what you want to do and how you want to do it, and we’ll figure out how we can make it happen,” he said.