With winter taking hold and COVID-19 cases on the rise, eateries are once again restricted to take-out service only. In response, the City of Hillsboro and Hillsboro Downtown Partnership (HDP) have stepped up to assist the restaurants in the city’s core. Restaurants, by and large, already valiantly fighting for survival under the weight of the Coronavirus pandemic.
The City’s and HDP’s assistance is in the form of covered, outdoor seating areas for restaurant patrons, dubbed “parklets.” A parklet temporarily occupies parking stall space along a street. Cities commonly utilize them during the summer to bring small, park-like ‘islands’ for rest and socialization into dense, urban areas without a nearby, full-fledged municipal park. At present though, in the midst of COVID-19 social distancing and ‘take-out only’ dining mandates, parklets’ potential as open-air dining spots is widely being tapped.
Covered dining parklets aren’t new to downtown Hillsboro. Back in July and August, the City sponsored two as a pilot program. One alongside E. Main Street in front of Pizzario and another alongside NE 2nd Avenue, next to Syun Izakaya in the historic Carnegie Library Building. These two parklets have become familiar fixtures to regular passersby.
Now, the two existing parklets’ table umbrellas from the summer have been replaced by hardier canopies and, thanks to the City and HDP, more parklets are appearing. According to a source, the details regarding locations and the respective restaurants with which each parklet will be associated are still being settled. Apparently the project’s wheels are beginning to turn, though, because one of the new parklets is presently under construction in front of Amelia’s at 4th and E. Main. Reportedly, three additional parklets will follow.