PERRYSBURG — Preparations are being made all over the city to open things up.
City council met Tuesday and the opening of many items were discussed with Mayor Tom Mackin and administration, including when they might open and what changes might be made.
On the eating scene, the look could be very different this summer, as social distancing and outside eating increases.
The biggest change could be a Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area in downtown. The day before “stay at home” orders were issued by Gov. Mike DeWine, downtown merchants submitted a DORA application to the city. Because of the many unknowns related to coronavirus and the process involved in a DORA application requires a specific timeline of meetings and recommendations Mackin delayed taking action. Had he started the process, that timeline would have been violated and likely voided the application.
“The governor’s order put everything on hold. Public comment is part of the application process and now that the governor has lifted the restrictions, the administration wants to move forward in getting the application to the council and public comment can occur,” Mackin said. “The administration will complete it’s review this week and hopes to meet with the applicant next week to work with them on the application. It will then be submitted to council.”
There was also discussion about the location to be used for the public forum.
Council President Jonathan Smith suggested that some other location might be necessary, because of social distancing needs. He pointed out that that when the DORA application was made by Levis Commons the council room at the Municipal Building did not have enough seating.
Mackin has also suggested that an alternative option might include appointments for one person at a time to make comments.
Mackin also said that the city will be “keeping the current process for outdoor seating, but the administration will remain flexible.”
There was a policy posting on social media prior to the meeting that noted there are both sidewalk permit and sidewalk lease applications available for outdoor seating in the city right-of-way.
The administration also made the following statement:
“The City of Perrysburg recognizes the many challenges restaurants are dealing with during the COVID-19 public health emergency. In an effort to assist our downtown restaurants with accommodating social distancing within their establishments, the city has a process in place for using the sidewalks on the city right-of-way. This process is at no cost to businesses and is easy to complete. If you wish to utilize the public sidewalk in front of your restaurant, please click on the link below to read over the sidewalk display permit guidelines and submit your application.”
Council also discussed bringing in additional benches or picnic tables to expand seating options around the city. The city is looking into the concept, but no decisions were made.
The Convention and Visitors Bureau is also reviewing the farmers market. The CVB will be meeting next on June 15.
Councilman Jim Matuszak asked that rules be relaxed for restaurants to expand further out toward the streets.
Council members Cory Kuhlman and Deborah Born were also in favor of additional help for small businesses.
As for sports, processes are moving forward, after the recent releases of new state recommendations for softball, baseball, pickleball and tennis.
“We’re working on those and hoping on getting those going in the very near future,” Mackin said.