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East Lansing considers expanding outside seating

Posted at 4:49 AM, May 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-20 04:49:20-04

EAST LANSING, Mich. — On Tuesday most of the East Lansing City Council seemed on board with the idea of expanding outdoor seating to the public by blocking traffic from Albert avenue from East of the parking ramp entrance to MAC avenue including Ann Street Plaza in downtown East Lansing.

"The concept is to provide an enclosure which would be installed for a couple of months, allowing patrons of downtown to visit a local restaurant to get take out then have the option to enjoy it in a socially distanced community setting," said Tom Fehrenback, Community & Economic Development Administrator.

Councilmember Mark Meadows expressed that if possible he would like to get the proposed idea in motion as soon as possible.

"I think we really need to do this for support our downtown businesses, there are 3 areas here all which I think will be attractive to individuals coming downtown to spend time," said Meadows.

East Lansing Mayor Ruth Beier says she is on board with the idea and that it will have many benefits.

"I think this will be great for the city and it - who knows, it might be something that we do in non-COVID times to just because it's so popular," said Beier.

When asked on their opinion residents of East Lansing say they're ready to get out and see other people around in downtown East Lansing.

"I definitely think it's a good idea to kind of get people going back like how things were in the past you know - people won't be so so scared to come back outside," said Jalen Patterson.

"I think that's part of the gradual path towards like normalcy here overall I have to say. I think it is a good decision to start easing restrictions a little bit and if you know it just one measure that they're reducing so just taking it one step at a time and if things seem to get out of hand that they could always just roll back that just that one restriction as well," said Eric Barber.

East Lansing City Attorney says that the proposal will need some polishing before moving forward to be adopted by the city.

City Manager George Lehanas says they are also waiting for Governor Gretchen Whitmer to give the order that it is okay to be out in the street.

The council will talk more about the outdoor seating proposal next week.

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