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May 21. 2014 10:37PM

Aldermen decide: Hanover Street ‘block party’ starts July 4 in Manchester

MANCHESTER — The summer “block party” on Hanover Street will begin the weekend of July 4 and run through Aug. 30, a shorter time frame than its boosters had sought.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved the plan on Tuesday, after the Committee on Public Safety signed off on the revised schedule earlier in the day.

Under the plan, Hanover Street, from Chestnut Street to within a half-block of Elm Street, would be closed to vehicles on Fridays and Saturdays from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m. The idea is to create a pedestrian way with expanded outdoor seating for restaurants, live music and other attractions.

The association of businesses recently formed to organize the event, now in its third year, had first proposed having the closure run from June 6 to Oct. 25 and begin at 5:30 p.m.

The public safety committee had approved the longer closure earlier this month, but opposition arose from area business owners who were not consulted on the plan. After meeting with them last week, Alderman Pat Long, who represents much of downtown, proposed a shorter schedule in line with the past two years.

Restaurant owners on Hanover Street have said the program has been a boon to business during what is traditionally a slow time of year. At the same time, neighboring business owners have complained the shutdown creates a disruption for them and their customers and draws patrons away.

Long said at Tuesday’s committee meeting that the new plan would also limit the expanded outdoor seating to the width of on-street parking places. A police detail would also be required, as has been the case in past years, he said.

The revised plan was approved unanimously by the committee and the full board.

tsiefer@unionleader.com


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