ROSWELL, Ga. — Some business owners in Roswell want to put the brakes on a plan to shut down Canton Street to cars this summer.
City leaders plan to close a block off the street from about Elizabeth Way to Webb Street between Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day.
The street, brimming with restaurants and shops, is a popular destination.
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“We don’t feel like we want to be the guinea pigs,” Jenna Aronowitz, who owns 1920 Tavern, said. “It would be detrimental. We already have a major parking problem.”
City officials say 39 parking spaces would be lost with the closure, but point out that parking is available at the nearby Roswell City Hall.
A parking deck is planned for the area, though it’s still a couple of years away.
“If they want to do the closure of the street, they’ve got to build our deck first,” Aronowitz said.
Roswell Mayor Kurt Wilson said the summer closure is a trial run.
“We think it’s going to be great for the community, we think it’s going to be great for the businesses. Obviously, we wouldn’t do it if we thought it was going to hurt any businesses,” Wilson said.
Alison Levinson, who owns Canton Street Social, said the closure would not only make parking a hassle, it would hinder truck deliveries.
“I’m not sure how deliveries would happen here. The trucks can’t park in the middle of Highway 9,” she said, referring to the highway that parallels Canton Street. “It could be a good idea, with the proper planning, but I think it was on a super-fast track that was too fast for the restaurants to handle.”
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Tommy Williams, owner of CBD Store And More, welcomes the concept, saying his business thrives on foot traffic.
But he also worries about parking.
“I just want to make sure that our customers have the ability to park and get in and out quickly,” Williams said.
Wilson said if the trial run is successful, the closure could become permanent.
“And we think this is in the best interest of every business there, even businesses that may say we don’t like that,” Wilson said. “We want to make it more pedestrian-friendly, make it more family-friendly.”
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