ITHACA, N.Y. –– After closing down the 100 block of North Aurora Street to car traffic back in June in order to accommodate socially-distanced outdoor dining, the city of Ithaca has now made the decision to extend the period of the street’s closure until mid-November in order to continue offering the extra space to restaurants.
Dubbed the Aurora “Streatery,” local dining spots on the block saw a flood of patrons over the summer, and city officials hope they can continue that trend in coming months.
“The City has received several requests to extend the outdoor dining season a few more weeks, and has decided to leave Aurora Street closed to vehicular traffic until Nov. 16,” city officials said in a statement Thursday. “We have been very pleased with the success of the Aurora Streatery, and are happy to be able to support our local businesses during this difficult time.”
We’ve received requests to extend the outdoor dining season a few more weeks, and decided to leave Aurora Street closed to vehicular traffic until 11/16. We’re pleased with the success of the Aurora Streetery, and happy to be able to support our local businesses
— Mayor Svante Myrick (@SvanteMyrick) October 29, 2020
According to Thomas Knipe, the deputy director for Economic Development for Ithaca, the ability to continue serving customers wary of indoor seating and public exposures, has been a tangible blessing to restaurant proprietors.
“While it is difficult to measure the specific impact on the local economy of the initiative, it is clear that the project has allowed businesses on ‘restaurant row’ to expand outdoor dining capacity and sales during a year when restaurants have generally suffered a large decrease in revenues,” Knipe said. “This helps maintain local jobs in the food and beverage industry and supports sales tax revenues to help fund city services.”
Northbound traffic on North Aurora Street continues to be rerouted to East State Street, Seneca Way and East Seneca Street. Westbound traffic on East State Street will still be rerouted to East Seneca Street until the block is reopened.