Petersburg to reopen street used for outdoor dining during pandemic

The street will remain closed until Phase Three.
The street will remain closed until Phase Three.(City of Petersburg)
Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 5:12 PM EDT
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PETERSBURG, Va. (WWBT) - The portion of Sycamore Street in Petersburg’s Old Towne Square that was closed during the COVID-19 pandemic will reopen.

Sycamore Street between Bank and Bollingbrook streets closed during the COVID-19 pandemic to allow for restaurants to have more space for outdoor seating.

The decision to reopen the square comes after the new city manager, Stuart Turille, conducted an in-depth evaluation. There is the possibility of relocating the square to nearby off-street spaces.

Turille presented the following options to city council:

  • Square remains open, with street closed indefinitely
  • Close Square and reopen street
  • Open street and relocate Square to adjacent vacant lot at the corner of Sycamore and Bollingbrook

“The balancing act between economic development and public safety must place public safety at the premium, including protecting the public from accidents, and our historic structures from damage, or nothing will exist to revitalize,” said Turille. “Should a fire occur, even one minute may be critical to saving lives and adjacent buildings. A narrow road with tables could delay response time by 2 to 3 minutes. We will not experiment with public safety.”

The city manager has the authority to reopen the road without council approval, but officials said council members did voice support for the plan to reopen.

“The City will send a letter to all business owners in and near the Square area explaining reopening the street and the possible relocation of the Square,” a release said.

Staff is discussing the exact reopening of the road.

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