StettlerLocal.com April 19, 2021
The Town of Stettler has utilized two empty lots in the downtown core to help support restaurants depending on take-out sales and for the enjoyment of downtown shoppers.
One of the lots is on the east side of Main Street between Brenda’s Cozy Cafe and Buzzed and Baked, and the other is on the south side of 50th Avenue, beside Spiral Mobility across the street from the Jewel Theatre.
Town of Stettler Communications Officer, Lara Angus, says the town had been discussing outdoor seating options downtown so when a social media campaign started for the option, they were more than happy to take action. Acquiring items from the Lions Campground and other outdoor areas, the town was able to quickly move picnic tables and garbage bins onto the empty lots. Angus says they were lucky to have the extra resources and that this helped them move on the decision quickly.
Angus says that the town will monitor the seating areas, but hopes that both businesses that benefit from the seating areas, and the people who enjoy them, are able to clean up after themselves. The town has provided garbage bins and will collect the garbage as needed.
The town has also started offering free patio permits to local businesses looking to combat the fluctuating COVID restrictions that reduce their available seating. Angus says that offering store-front patios wouldn’t negatively affect available parking on the streets and that the added walking distance some customers might have was minimal compared to the benefits of the patios. Handicapped parking spots won’t be impacted. She also says that the town is offering the same patio permits all across town as they wanted to make sure that they weren’t only focusing on the downtown area. If store-front patio setups are well received, and have no major issues, the town would be willing to continue to offer patio permits in the future.
“We wanted to do our part to help the local businesses succeed.” - Lara Angus, Town of Stettler Communications Officer
When asked if there had been any negative feedback on the outdoor seating, and patios appearing on the streets, she says they’ve had a few inquiries into parking, and general questions about the issue, but no complaints.
The town has seen the benefits of outdoor patios in other communities, and hopes that Stettler sees it too. Since the lots being used for community seating could be purchased, and developed, it’s not possible to plan for the future of these spaces.
Carson Ellis, Reporter