Block of Manchester's Hanover Street will be closed Friday for downtown vitality plan
MANCHESTER — A popular block of Hanover Street will be closed to vehicles on Friday night, the start of a pilot program aimed at boosting the vitality of downtown.
The street will be closed from the intersection of Chestnut Street to Nutfield Lane, the side street used to access the Citizens Bank building parking garage, on Friday and Saturday from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.
The program will run each weekend through Aug. 4.
Several restaurants and bars on the block, including Ignite, Hooked, Penuche’s and Planet Marshmallow, will be offering outdoor seating extended onto the sidewalk, and the Palace Theater has shows scheduled at 7 p.m. Friday each weekend night.
There will also be live music. The Read/Allan Duo will be playing on the street, thanks to Penuche’s owner Chuck Kalatzes, who hired the group.
Several retail shops on the block also plan to stay open later.
“Our intention is to create a new center of activity to enhance the vibrancy of downtown,” said Manchester Economic Development Director Jay Minkarah in a statement. “If the pilot program is as successful as we expect it to be, the program may be extended or expanded in the future.”
The extended seating will still allow room for pedestrians to walk in the street or for an emergency vehicle to pass.
A plan to close off a downtown street to boost pedestrian access has been discussed for years. The latest plan had strong support from the mayor and aldermen, and it was finalized after meetings with local business owners, residents and police and fire officials.
At least one alderman, however, has raised concerns that the latest plan was rushed and could create safety problems.
Police have said that the closure will have a minimal impact on traffic.
Vehicles will be able to access and exit the Citizen’s Bank parking garage as usual.
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