The Heart of Brevard (HOB), a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to maintain a vital downtown, has collaborated with Brevard city leadership and local businesses to safely reopen restaurants and retailers at reduced capacity for dining and shopping. Initiatives include creating additional outdoor space for businesses, providing recommendations and resources for reopening and adding handwashing stations throughout downtown.
“We want to ensure that we not only create additional space but that it is inviting and vibrant for visitors,” says HOB executive director Nicole Bentley. “We are beautifying the outdoor space with lighting, flowers and greenery, pole banners and a public art installation.”
The effort begins with a test block where on-street parking spaces on Main Street on the block immediately west and the block immediately east of Broad Street are closed to vehicular parking. Through traffic is still allowed. Parking spaces may be used by pedestrians for safe travel while parts of the sidewalk and bricked area are used for tables and chairs or retail display racks. The City of Brevard erected fencing to block vehicular parking and create barriers for safe use of those parking areas newly designated for outdoor dining and retail.
“As restrictions relax, we hope to expand the scope of programming,” says Bentley. “We envision live artist demonstrations and possible performances in the individual spaces. We also hope to work with all of the downtown businesses to create special promotions to acknowledge larger events like Independence Day.”
The resolution also allows restaurants and shops with a license to serve beer and wine to contact the Planning Department for approval to serve alcohol directly adjacent to their establishment and with proper barricades in place. Business owners may contact HOB to request special event street closures as well. Spaces for curbside pickup are clearly marked by the city.
“Having a very engaged Chamber and nonprofit like Heart of Brevard has been paramount in creating a strong sense of community during this challenging time,” says Lucy Clark of The Lucy Clark Gallery and Studio (formerly Artists @ Work Studio and Gallery).
“The city has been incredibly easy to deal with and has offered many ideas to keep the downtown merchants open and vital.”
City staff have also been working to increase the number of outdoor seating areas throughout downtown to accommodate takeout dining. Additional tables with shade umbrellas have been added to the corner of Caldwell and West Main streets. Visitors to downtown will find additional seating in the East Alley near Sully’s Steamers and in the North Alley adjacent to Hunters and Gatherers. A map is available for downtown businesses to hand out directing customers to newly created public seating. Additional signage and handwashing stations also aid in creating a safe and pleasant experience.
“Without outdoor space, we would only be able to seat 18,” says Patti Butler, owner of Wine Down on Main. “There’s no way we could survive on that. The fact that the city is going out of its way to help us gives me hope that we may actually make it through this.”
Learn more at BrevardNC.org/supportlocal. Online resources include a downtown Brevard public seating map, recommendations and best practices for reopening restaurants and retail spaces, and how to apply for a Transylvania Tomorrow Small Business Emergency Relief Grant.