Businesses ask City of Wilmington for Downtown Alive extension

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A server at Front Street Brewery takes an order during Downtown Alive on July 3 (photo: Sydney Bouchelle/WWAY)

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — For nearly two months, parts of Princess and Front Streets in Wilmington have been shut down during certain hours on weekends for an ongoing event called Downtown Alive. Now the Downtown Business Alliance is looking to extend the program, speaking before city council Tuesday night.

The event started as a way for restaurants to expand seating outside due to COVID-19 social distancing requirements under Governor Roy Cooper’s Phase 2 restrictions.

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The event is set to expire September 7.

Downtown Business Alliance President Terry Espy spoke before city council Tuesday night, speaking to the success of the program and asking to extend it through November 29.

“We don’t know when we’re going to get through Phase Three. And the business owners that have taken part in downtown alive have really really… this has set a precedent,” Espy said. “These guys are thrilled that they’ve had the opportunity to get back on their feet. Some are meeting numbers that they did last summer.”

The proposal to extend the program also includes additional businesses. Although certain streets cannot be closed, those businesses would be able to extend seating into the parking spots in front of their buildings.

Espy also says the existing restaurants that have been participating in Downtown Alive have committed $13,750 toward the program.

The Downtown Business Alliance hopes to have a decision in the next two weeks.