Proposed Streateries would explore new territory for downtown Shawnee restaurants

Vicky O. Misa
The Shawnee News-Star
Shown are examples of Streateries. Guidelines for these types of establishments are being discussed by Shawnee City Commissioners.

Once upon a time, business was conducted in brick-and-mortar establishments that customers frequented during particular days and hours. These days, with the 24/7 availability of online shopping and home delivery — and most recently, pandemic precautions requiring residents to spread out — the look of commerce in communities continues to change.

A few years ago Shawnee City Commissioners began discussions about how to encourage residents to physically spend more time in the downtown district.

Picking up momentum across the country is the use of parklets, a trend the city has already established.

At the end of October, downtown's first (and, so far, only) parklet was built and situated over two parking spaces near 9 E. Main St., where it currently remains.

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Open to public use, the goal of the parklet is to offer extra gathering space outside local storefronts.

Streateries are a similar amenity, though they are more directly tied to use by a particular business — typically as outdoor dining areas for restaurants.

Shown are examples of Streateries. Guidelines for these types of establishments are being discussed by Shawnee City Commissioners.

“A Streatery is essentially an open air public space installed in a parking spot or loading zone reserved for the use of the adjacent restaurant during their business hours — similar to a sidewalk café but in a parking area vs. on the sidewalk,” proposed guidelines read. “The purpose of the Streatery guidelines is to create efficient uses of urban space, provide attractive additions to local streetscapes, invite people to sit and stay in public spaces, enhance walkability and encourage business participation in a vibrant streetscape.”

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According to the proposed guidelines, a Streatery can take up the three parking spaces in front of the sponsoring business. Just like the parklet, there are several rules and regulations regarding how a Streatery is to be built and what is allowed on it, such as lighting, furniture, things used to create shade and blocking wind, etc.

During hours of service, the structure is intended solely for use for the business’ customers, but outside those hours, the Streatery would become open to everyone.

Permits would be required, as the right of way (sidewalks) and parking areas are public space.

Commissioners deferred the item, with the intention of having discussions with downtown business owners before moving ahead.

Check The Shawnee News-Star for more on this story next week.

For story ideas, questions or concerns, reporter Vicky O. Misa can be reached at vicky.misa@news-star.com.