Business owners disappointed city denied outdoor dining extension

BAY CITY, Mich. (WNEM) – Local bar and restaurant owners are disappointed after city commissioners denied an extension to a road closure that allowed outdoor dining on Midland Street in Bay City.

“It was very surprising that they decided not to extend us,” Lucky’s pub owner Jay Samborn said. “You know, at least for the rest of the summer. We still have some summer left here to enjoy.”

As part of Feet on the Street, downtown Bay City roads were closed to traffic this summer to allow outdoor dining.

The Midland Street closure ended Monday. Samborn hoped to extend the closure of Midland Street on the west side until Oct. 15.

City Commissioner Jesse Dockett said he would support extending the date, but only on weekends.

“We were expecting a bunch of things to happen during the day and it never really materialized,” said 1st Ward City Commissioner Jesse Dockett.

Those who work at Lucky’s Pub argue that there is no level playing field between the city’s districts.

“The east side can keep theirs open, open until October and we can’t do that,” said Elizabeth Schulz, Lucky’s pub manager.

“There are still other districts that continue to have their streets closed and allowing their customers to be outside puts us at a bit of a disadvantage,” Samborn said. “Which makes all businesses suffer, not just restaurants and bars.”

Those at Lucky’s Pub hope the commissioners will reconsider their position next year.

“We’ve gained a significant amount of foot traffic with Feet on the Street than before,” Schultz said. We’ve got more people wanting to go out, wanting to see more bands, more entertainment.”

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