Poulsbo Mayor Becky Erickson and the city council revisited the concept of a “Summer Fair” in Poulsbo’s commercial cores this year in order to quite literally give more room to for local businesses to operate as they attempt to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
While details have yet to be ironed out, the basic concept is that the city would allow businesses to spill out into publicly-owned areas and even privately-owned outdoor spaces if they are able to make such arrangements.
Participation in the “Summer Fair” idea is completely voluntary and would not see the closure of any streets, including Front Street, but rather would allow businesses to expand out to the right-of-way in front of their buildings.
As it is, businesses have “a litany of things” they have to do in order to comply with state and federal guidelines, Erickson said, and expanding space, especially for restaurants, which would be able to add outdoor seating, would hopefully help boost their revenues.
“It’s very difficult, with a reduction of table space, for them to retain their revenue streams that they have had in the past,” Erickson said.
The “Summer Fair” concept can apply to any part of the city — businesses in areas such as Poulsbo Village and College Marketplace could also implement this plan if they so choose. The city and business owners would work together in ensuring the public areas are clean and sanitized as required, with the city taking care of the large open spaces and businesses handling their small parcels.
“Providing outside seating areas, I think, is really important, at least thorugh this summer,” Erickson said.
Council member Gary McVey said his only concern is how narrow the sidewalks already are on Front Street; there needs to be room for pedestrians to pass one another, he said. But he offered the Planning and Economic Development Committee as a forum to polish up the concept.
“I like the creativity and providing fleixiblity for those who want to take advantage of this,” McVey said.