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City OKs outdoor dining for Old Corner

LOCK HAVEN — Lock Haven City Council approved a request to close the Grove Street entrance of the East Church Street parking lot for outdoor dining this summer.

Don Powers, owner of The Old Corner, made the request during Monday night’s city council meeting.

The Old Corner is located at the corner of Grove and Church streets and due to its small size and limited indoor capacity caused by COVID-19 restrictions, cannot serve many customers indoors, Powers said.

“I can really only get one table inside for health and safety reasons,” Powers said. Once restrictions ease up he said he may be able to fit up to seven people in the space, however that won’t be enough to sustain the business.

“It’s been a very difficult winter I have to tell you. We’re running about 20 percent of our normal revenues. And as you all know, fixed costs don’t change so it’s been trying,” Powers told council.

Powers said he plans to also include a walking path to allow for foot traffic in the entryway and utilize the back door of the business, which faces the parking lot, for service.

Powers said he will be able to fit four tables in the entry way while still following social distancing guidelines. He also plans to place three tables on the sidewalk along the building facing Grove Street.

“Doing it this way I can actually bring another staff member back to full time,” he noted, adding that he’ll need another person also during the Pedestrian Mall weekends over the summer.

Councilman Steve Stevenson asked if Powers had received consent from Johnson’s Salon, which shares the entryway with The Old Corner.

“No I haven’t, I rarely see Mary Jo anymore. Our daytime work schedules match so she’s gone before I get to the business in the evenings,” Powers said. He said he would get her consent in writing and send it to City Manager Gregory Wilson.

Wilson said, unlike when council passed a resolution allowing the closure of an alley for Stella A’s use, this request did not need a resolution.

“It does not require a resolution because, unlike the alleys which are a public right-of-way because of it being a street or alley, this is actually the equivalent of private property owned by the city for the enterprise of parking,” Wilson explained.

“It’s actually part of the parking lot,” Mayor Joel Long said.

Stevenson approved Powers’ request contingent on the city receiving written consent from Mary Jo Johnson.

The closure is set until the end of September although council can reevaluate the timeline, Wilson said.

All members of council voted in favor of the approval.

Wilson said the city’s public works department and police department will work with Powers to ensure proper safety measures are put in place to prevent motorists from attempting to turn into the entry way.

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