City of Vernon council will vote on whether to repeat last year’s summer closure of a block of main street at its meeting on April 11. (Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce photo)

City of Vernon council will vote on whether to repeat last year’s summer closure of a block of main street at its meeting on April 11. (Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce photo)

Main street block closure could return in Vernon this summer

Council will vote on whether to repeat last summer’s block closure on April 11

A block of main street in Vernon could once again yield to pedestrians this summer.

The city shut down the 2900 block of 30th Avenue to traffic last summer to help businesses struggling with restrictions on indoor spaces amid the pandemic, allowing them to move seating onto the roadway and create a pedestrian plaza.

Council will now vote on whether to repeat the block closure at its April 11 meeting.

According to a memo to council dated March 30, the Downtown Vernon Association (DVA) conducted a survey that found there was “general support” among downtown businesses for closing the block again this summer.

Council allocated up to $50,000 for the trial block closure in 2021, but the DVA only ended up using $18,600 for the closure. Tourism Vernon provided about $6,000 of additional funding to support the closure with advertising and promotional activities.

If council decides to go ahead with another trial closure this summer, administration will work with the DVA to develop a plan and financial request, which would be brought to council in May.

If approved, the block closure would take place from July 1 to September 5.

Keelan Murtagh, executive director of the DVA, presented the results of a survey of its members to council on Monday, April 11.

He said the success of the closure can’t be gauged by last year, which saw many challenges and cancellations with the heat wave, the White Rock Lake wildfire and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The survey found people love the 2900 block closure for its central location, good dining, space to meet with friends, and as its an ideal spot to people watch.

Murtagh noted the survey brought forward issues that needed to be better addressed. He suggested extra signage downtown to show where and how much parking is.

The DVA and administration will bring forward a plan and a financial request to council on May 9.

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Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
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