Dine Out Downtown changes; works to find solutions with restaurants

Northern block of Tejon no longer has full street closure
Dine Out Downtown changes; works to find solutions with restaurants
Posted at 1:41 AM, Aug 13, 2020

COLORADO SPRINGS — News5 had previously reported that Dine Out Downtown, the program closing parts of Tejon Street for outdoor seating on weekends, had expanded to two blocks of the road. However, we learned the northern block, across from Acacia Park, only had two weekends where the street closed completely.

Those with the Downtown Partnership of Colorado Springs said the northern block was closed for the last weekend of June and the first one of July. The partnership said it just did not generate the same volume of seating that has been seen further south on Tejon.

The southern block closure of Tejon is functioning normally.

Len Kendall, the director of planning and mobility for the partnership, said the northern block has two full service kitchens. "We still consider it Dine Out Downtown because we are still working on solutions for all the restaurants here," said Kendall.

One of the restaurants he is working with is Mood Tapas Bar. Those with the restaurant said the two weekends where Tejon did close for Dine Out Downtown were their best all year. "Really great two weeks, lots of business. We were very excited. We invested in some outside equipment, umbrellas, and what not," said Bar Manager Colby Carlson, who also told News5 they purchased WiFi for the outside area.

Carlson estimated the restaurant spent a few thousand in preparation for the event to last through the end of summer.

The restaurant said they found out after the second weekend that the full closure would not be returning to their block. "Right after they told us that we couldn't we said, well we should," said Carlson.

Now, the partnership and restaurant are working together to try and construct a "parklet" in four parking spots outside. The permit was just submitted to the city, and they expect to hear back with a decision soon. "We're going to build a parklet out of wood, and they [customers] will sit on the road in the parking spaces only, to allow for additional tables to be put on the parking spaces," said Kendall.

Kendall said any restaurant that needs assistance like this should reach out to the partnership. "If they feel like they have a need for additional dining, they should contact us and we can work together with them, as we have with 25 other restaurants downtown."

The parklet would be open for business seven days a week, and the current permits for the program run through the end of September, but could be extended.

News5 will keep you updated on the city's decision.

*This article has been corrected from a previous version, which said the permit would run through November. In addition, materials used for barriers surrounding the parklet are still being decided.