Mulberry Street closure in Fruita could become permanent

Fruita Seeking Community Input on Mulberry Street Closure
Published: Apr. 18, 2022 at 7:42 PM MDT
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FRUITA, Colo. (KKCO) -The City of Fruita is considering making the street closure on North Mulberry St. a permanent closure.

The city closed that section of Mulberry St. near the start of the COVID-19 pandemic as a way to help out local businesses who were forced to close their doors. The area provided chairs and tables to give people a place to eat outdoors when eating inside wasn’t an option.

Now, the city is considering keeping the closure a permanent thing, but they want the community to have the final say.

“To make this a permanent space, we want the community to be in favor of it and support the idea,” said Ciara DePinto, Fruita City Communication and Engagement Specialist. “But we’re also open to maybe it’s only closed to special events, or maybe we do improvements along the sidewalks instead of closing down the whole thing. So it’s really up to the community on what they would like to see happen. If everyone wants it to open back up then that’s an option as well.”

The City launched an online survey to see what both Fruita residents and visitors would like to see happen as far as development goes.

“Nothing is set in stone yet,” said DePinto. “We’re in the first phase of it you know, just collecting community input, wanting as much as we can. We have the survey open for the community, we’ve also met with a lot of businesses in the area and stake holders as well.”

At this point there are no definite plans as to what may be developed but DePinto says the survey has different ideas that the city is looking at.

One local business owner, Fred Martinez, who’s establishment is to the west of Mulberry St. had seen first hand the impact that the closure has had on his business. Marine’s has co-owned Suds Brothers Brewery since it opened ten years ago. He said that once the pandemic hit, they were forced to close their doors for 45 days due to indoor COVID restrictions.

“And then as it progressed we could have limited seating inside, and that was about the time the city came up with this idea,” said Martinez. “Which allowed people to enjoy open air and still the facilities around could bring them food, or they could bring them food and take it out there.”

He said the closure has brought a lot of people to the down town area and supports having the road stay closed. Martinez feels having it permanent will be beneficial to the community.

“It’s a neat little interaction between the businesses in my opinion,” said Martinez. “I think it’s going to help draw and keep more and more people local.”

According to Martinez, the community embraced the Mulberry closure and would even purchase food at restaurants on the other side of town and still bring their meal to the closure.

“They were actually buying the food from those facilities bringing them over and enjoying it outdoors over here in,” said Martinez. “So we saw quite a bit of that start to trend to the north, which created kind of a really neat little downtown Fruita atmosphere, which I think was beneficial to the entire community.”

Martinez said though, not everyone is excited about the potential permanent closure. He said some have voiced concerns about parking in downtown Fruita.

“A lot of citizens feel that parking should have been a priority prior to a venture like this happened,” said Martinez. “I get that. Parking in downtown Fruita is limited to say the least.”

Martinez said he’s in favor of the closure, as long as the area is developed properly. He’d like to see outdoor restrooms installed for example.

For more information about the closure and the online survey, please visit: https://www.fruita.org/cd/page/north-mulberry-street-outdoor-space-project

The survey will be open until May 15. The community will also have the chance to give input at the Fat Tire Festival May 6-8.

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