Restaurant seating moves to the street in Jeffersonville - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Restaurant seating moves to the street in Jeffersonville

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Jeffersonville, Ind. (WDRB) -- Jeffersonville restaurants and bars now have the opportunity to expand outdoor seating options to the street.

A new outdoor seating agreement, passed by the city, allows restaurants to essentially use parking spots as patios. The agreement came about after the city heard complaints from local business owners about the lack of sidewalk space for additional seating options.

The agreement allows three parking spaces per block to be turned into outdoor seating, on a first come, first serve basis. Jeffersonville mayor Mike Moore says no money exchanges hands in the deal, but restaurants are required to pay for maintenance of the area and the installation of a barrier.

Match Cigar Bar on Spring Street was the first business to sign up for the program. Owner Sara Mouttet says with the outdoor seating has come new customers.

"We're getting plenty more people popping their heads in, saying 'wow we didn't know you were here, this is a great little spot, I'm going to sit own and have a drink,'" she said.

Moore says especially with the large increase in foot traffic thanks to the opening of the Big Four Bridge, the idea is to draw customers in and make them want to stay a while.

"It just makes the place more inviting, a friendlier atmosphere," he said.

Officials with planning and zoning say sidewalks in Jeffersonville aren't much of an option for outdoor seating because they are too narrow, and don't provide much extra room. Many places can't fit tables on the sidewalk while also complying with laws that require 48 inches of space for wheelchairs can pass.

Moore isn't worried the new opportunity will result in a parking crisis. He points out that there are plenty of open spaces downtown at all times. He also says when the park opens up at the bottom of the Big Four, parking will be added.

Officials with planning and zoning say the opportunity has been available to business for two to three months, and Match Cigar Bar is the only one to take advantage.

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