Mayor Paul Jenkins has addressed some concerns raised by the public about the new weekend-only permit system for seasonal businesses in Millennium Park.
Jenkins stressed that the system will only be for this year because plans are in place to revitalize the park. It has already gone through a lot of change, but there are some challenges in the future that will not allow seasonal businesses to operate in the park. With the revitalization of downtown Bancroft and the reconstruction of Highway 62, having seasonal businesses operate there would be unfeasible. Jenkins also says the parking lot is insufficient for that kind of traffic. It is because of this and other changes that the system will not be put in place past this year.
On the nature of the permit system being weekends-only, Jenkins says that it’s a balance between the public’s use of the park and public safety. Between the summer day camp for children, additional daycare spaces and the youth health program, the park already sees a lot of use on weekdays. All this is on top of the ongoing pandemic, and in the interest of public safety, he and council want to make sure that the area is not too crowded.
Jenkins also pointed to the concerns of local taxpayers in the business community. The Mayor says he had heard concerns from restaurants about seasonal businesses and limited them to weekend use out of concern for brick-and-mortar stores. In addition, Jenkins says that the seasonal business setup has always been a trial. While he is open to bringing back the permit system at a later date, at this point in time, and with limited Town land, he says a final decision is too far in the future.
Currently, council is considering a takeout hub system proposed by Bancroft Business in Action. The proposal would see a place in Millennium Park where people would order their food from local restaurants and bring it back to the location to enjoy. The BBIA says that it has broad support from the restaurant community in town. Jenkins says he likes the idea, but council was unable to vote on it yet as the information was received too soon to be properly considered at the meeting. Jenkins feels that it is a good compromise between seasonal and brick-and-mortar businesses. However, he once again stresses that this plan is dependent on future plans for Millennium Park.