Utica extends outdoor dining until 2025

‘We’ve had nothing but compliments,’ mayor says

Outdoor dining has been a big hit in Utica

Outdoor dining in Utica has been so popular trustees agreed to offer it for three years. Now, they’re extending it five years.

Thursday, the Utica Village Board voted 5-0 (Trustee John Schweickert was absent) to extend the seasonal closure of Mill Street, currently set to lapse in autumn 2023, to fall of 2025. The village had sealed off downtown to vehicular traffic summer year to provide outdoor dining space to help restaurants hampered by indoor capacity limits.

Downtown businesses, however, have so enjoyed outdoor service some are thinking of investing in new equipment and even expanding kitchen space. Before they invest the money, businesses reached out to Mayor David Stewart to see if the village was willing to extend outdoor dining a few more years.

“For what it’s worth, I think it’s worked well for us,” Stewart said. “We’ve had nothing but compliments.”

Also, Village Clerk Laurie Gbur said she’s been pleased with the letters in support of the proposed outdoor plaza — 40 letters to date — but the village needs more to build its case for getting a Rebuild Downtown and Main Street Program Grant

As previously reported, the village plans to develop the north end of Mill Street with a seasonal shopping plaza modeled after the Boardwalk in Batavia. The grant deadline is January and won’t be announced until spring, but Gbur encouraged supporters to lend their voices by Monday.

“It seems like there’s a lot of interest in the project,” she said. “All these letters help the application process along.”

Stewart said he particularly encouraged businesses owners who are “solidly interested” in renting one of the portable retail stalls to say so in a letter.

Finally, the board authorized Stewart and Village Engineer Kevin Heitz to finalize Ridgeview Estates (the Burgess subdivision). The subdivision has no more room to grow so Utica is able to formally accept all the improvements.

Village Attorney Herb Klein thanked the Burgess family for the finished product, and “they’ve been really good to work with over the years.”

In other matters, the board:

  • Canceled a Committee of the Whole meeting previously set for Dec. 16
  • Announced the Village Santa Parade will be Saturday, Dec. 18.
  • Inaugurated its separate closed-session chambers, but took no follow-up action