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Weekends on Walton outdoor dining resumes for a second summer

By Eric Reinhardt (ereinhardt@cnybj.com)

Date:

People eating on Walton Street during the summer of 2020. (PHOTO CREDIT: ZOEYADVERTISING.COM)

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — A portion of Walton Street in Syracuse’s Armory Square will be dedicated to people eating outside for part of the weekend the next few months. 

Outdoor dining in Armory Square known as “Weekends on Walton” resumed on Fridays and Saturdays during the first weekend in June.

The City of Syracuse launched the outdoor-dining initiatives in 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic to help generate business for Armory Square restaurants.

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh on May 27 announced the return of Weekends on Walton outside the Hops Spot at 116 Walton St. City officials haven’t yet determined how long the outdoor-dining initiative will continue in 2021.

The 100 block and part of the 200 block of Walton Street will close to traffic, allowing storefront businesses to use of the public right of way (ROW) to “maximize” the outdoor space to service customers. 

“Like so many cities across the country, we had to look at how we deliver our services as the City of Syracuse … how we use our City assets, including the right of way, to support our businesses and our residents in ways that we haven’t done before,” Walsh said in his remarks on Walton Street. “And one of the ways  that we were able to do that, at a time when we knew that it was less safe to be indoors, we were able to open up our right of way, our sidewalks and our roads throughout the city, but in particular, here on Walton Street in Armory Square to allow businesses to put tables out and to spread out to make sure that they could serve their customers in a safe way.”

Walsh went on to say that the outdoor dining attracted patrons who shopped at other downtown businesses. 

“It’s something that, as we looked back on the season, we said, you know what, why would we not continue to do that. It just makes too much sense,” Walsh added.

Changes this year include a shorter weekend closure continuing from 7 a.m. on Friday mornings to 7 a.m. on Sunday mornings. An additional change will include the closure of the 200 block of Walton Street up to the Creekwalk, leaving the remaining portion of the block open to traffic and for parking.

The Weekends on Walton initiative is a collaboration between the city’s Department of Neighborhood and Business Development (NBD) and the Downtown Committee of Syracuse, with help from the city’s Department of Parks, Recreation & Youth Services; Department of Public Works; Central Permit Office; and the Syracuse Fire Department.        

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