Alderman wants to discuss Manchester block party plans with businesses
MANCHESTER — Plans to extend the weekend “block party” schedule on Hanover Street from summer into fall may need some revision before getting a final OK.
Alderman Pat Long hopes to meet with property owners from the area before the issue is scheduled to go before the full Board of Aldermen at its meeting on May 20.
The Committee on Public Safety agreed to shut down traffic on a block and a half of Hanover Street on Friday and Saturday nights from June 6 through Oct. 25.
The dates were requested by the Hanover Street Closing Association, which includes some but not all of the property owners where Hanover is scheduled to be closed.
“They didn’t meet with all the people they were supposed to,” Long said Friday. “I’m going to make sure that happens.”
Moe L’Heureux, who owns the former Odd Fellows temple building across Hanover from the Palace Theatre, told the Board of Aldermen on Tuesday night that he had not been informed of the longer schedule, which he said would inconvenience tenants in his building. One of them is a dance studio, where children’s classes resume after summer vacations are over and kids are back in school.
L’Heureux said parents wanting to drop children off at the door would have to navigate around the street closure, then walk the children a block or two.
“It’s not my street,” L’Heureux said. “It’s all of ours and we all have to work together.”
Peter Ramsey, president and CEO of the Palace Theatre, was glad to hear Long was trying to round up everybody from the block to discuss the proposed schedule, which also includes closing the street at 5:30 p.m. rather than the 6 p.m. start of the past few summers.
Ramsey said the Palace schedule also picks up in the fall and was concerned about the overlap in September and October. Ramsey said his preference would be to stop the block parties after Labor Day, which has been the schedule since the former pilot program was renewed last summer.
Popular restaurants on the street include Penuche’s, Hooked, and the Ignite Bar and Grille. Closing the street allowed the eateries to extend outdoor seating across the entire sidewalk and leave the roadway free for pedestrian traffic. Outdoor seating is usually limited to half of the sidewalk.
The city heard objections last year from several businesses near the street, which said the block parties took patrons away from bars and restaurants that were not on the featured block.
“The appropriate way to handle would be to have a meeting on the impact on Hanover Street,” Ramsey said. “It just needs to be collaborative.”