CLINTON — There’s a new temporary dining area in the heart of the village to accommodate people getting their takeout meals and enjoying them while they’re still fresh and hot.
When the coronavirus pandemic caused the closing of so many businesses, community leaders said they would look for ways to help businesses with the loss of revenue if they could. This new dining space is the result of that effort.
The dining area was made possible through donations by Hamilton College and working with the Clinton Chamber of Commerce and the Village of Clinton Board of Trustees.
Hamilton College President David Wippman explained why he felt it was important for the college to be involved in this project.
“College and village officials meet regularly to discuss ways in which the college and the village can work together to the benefit of both,” Wippman said. “Given the public health and economic challenges posed by the pandemic, collaboration is more important than ever. Providing support for the village’s outdoor eating space is one way in which the college is supporting the village’s efforts to stimulate economic activity.”
Located at 6 W. Park Row, along the curb line, the area is marked off and protected by decorative concrete jersey barriers. Approximately 12 people can use the space at one time and social distancing signs are posted to remind people to be respectful of others. It also is located directly under two large trees for shade.
“This was really a community effort,” said Clinton Mayor Steven J. Bellona. “Although I have to give a lot of the credit to Jackie Walters. It was her idea, everyone agreed and said ‘let’s go for it’”
Bellona said others who contributed to the project were Department of Public Works Superintendent Robert Rockwell, who picked out and placed the decorative concrete jersey barriers on the site and local artist
Tim Rand, who’s known for his tunnel mural next to Paddywacks on W. Park Row. Rand who’s been working out of his gallery at 84 Utica St. in Clinton during the pandemic said he didn’t mind venturing up to the village to work with the community. He also said he has what he feels is a very appropriate theme to share.
“Ill be painting honey bees on the barriers,” Rand said. “Just like the humble honey bee. If we all work together, we’ll all get through it together. Life is sweet.”
Also, according to Bellona, Leah Johnson Fay, co-owner of NOLA’s restaurant, said she’d like to donate flower boxes for atop the barriers and the Clinton Lion’s Club volunteered to empty the trash bins, when needed, stationed next to the area.
Bellona said they might even be able to get some high school students to clean tables and chairs as well.
“I like to think of this as a community space,” Bellona said. “A space that can be community maintained.”
Jackie Walters, executive director of the Clinton Chamber of Commerce said along with the Clinton Lion’s Club, the staff of NOLA’s and Krizia Martin are all available for picking up and cleaning the dining area.
“I think creating this dining area will show our overall support of the community and the village,” Walters said. “We want to encourage all the restaurants in our community to tell their customers to use the area.”
Walters also pointed out she hopes the new dining area will draw people into the village helping those businesses non-food related businesses.
The area also has signs reminding people to social distance. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) its allowed to set up tables along a sidewalk, as long as they’re at least 6-feet apart. Also, sidewalks must maintain at least 4-feet of passage for pedestrians and people in need of wheelchairs, to meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations of 1990.
“The signs were made by John Costanzo at Proforma Full Circle,” Walters said. “He’s kind of my ‘go-to-guy’ and he made all those signs for me, just like the ones he made and we use at the Farmers Market.”
Lisa Sabastian, co-owner of the Clinton Ale House, said she thought it was a great idea.
“It’s wonderful for people to be able to get food and have someplace in the village to sit.” she said. “Especially now in these times when getting out of the house is such a treat.”