Village president elaborates on idea for on-street dining

I wanted to make you aware of an idea that the village board of trustees discussed at last Tuesday’s meeting that has received some media coverage.

Now that Gov. JB Pritzker has put into effect a phased plan for re-opening various businesses in our state, we want to explore how we could enhance our downtown area for our residents and allow for businesses to prosper in new ways.

Following social distancing guidelines set by the state, restaurants will need more space for seating. We discussed the idea of closing down portions of First Street, Washington Street and Hinsdale Avenue to allow restaurants to set out tables for outdoor dining on the street. The closing of the streets will, of course, need to accommodate the carry-out business for the town’s restaurants. I am happy to report the idea was met with overwhelming enthusiasm from village trustees, members of the business community and residents.

It’s important to note we are not yet at the point where restaurants will be allowed to open, given the governor’s order, but the time to plan is now. Planning now puts the village in the best position to consider all businesses in the downtown, including the carryout businesses. The village board and staff want to do everything we can to ensure our current carry-out businesses grow and eventual table dining can be prosperous.

We will continue this discussion, and others, and strive to make downtown Hinsdale the best it can be. — Thomas K. Cauley, village president