WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - You will see something new if you head to downtown Wilmington this weekend.
The traffic barriers in front of businesses mark the boundaries of what are called parklets and are part of the expansion of the Downtown Alive project that was established to help business during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Downtown Alive started with the closing of parts of Front and Princess Streets but has now expanded to include other streets and businesses like the Copper Penny on Chestnut Street.
Manager Devan Mitchell says the additional space will help cut waiting times for their customers.
“We still had a lot of people that wanted to come in,” said Mitchell. “We were doing hour and a half waits. Now, this is going to accommodate a lot more people with less waiting time.”
The parklets give more space for outdoor dining for those who may not feel comfortable eating inside.
“So, that really makes the diner feel more comfortable,” says Pinpoint General Manager Louis Rodriguez. “The financial gain is to be determined. But obviously, it’s more about making people feel good about dining out and coming to downtown Wilmington, and supporting the restaurants.”
While the parklets and closing streets have brought more business to many restaurants in downtown Wilmington, that’s not the case for the 24 South Coffee House.
“Basically, people just hate walking,” said 24 South Coffee House Barista Molly Prosser. “They want to be able to park right in front of the shop, run in and get their coffee and can’t do that with this. Our sales are down significantly, especially on the weekend. It’s difficult for everybody at this time already, and this definitely doesn’t help.”
Downtown Alive runs Thursday-Sunday until October 18.