SUMMIT, NJ — The parklet in Summit that opened last summer was reinstalled and is open to the public as of Tuesday, April 18. Located on Springfield Avenue in front of Tito’s Burritos and Batavia Cafe, the parklet is an attractive addition to the downtown area that will hopefully increase pedestrian activity.
“The parklet has the exact same setup as last year,” Mayor Nora Radest told LocalSource over the phone on April 12. “The view wasn’t as attractive last year due to the construction that took place on West Elm Street. I think it will be more pleasant this year. Most people thought it was interesting. The goal is to do things to get people to Summit. We’re competing with the Internet and malls when it comes to where people will do their shopping.”
However, the ongoing parking shortage in Summit is another issue that must be addressed if there will be an increased number of shoppers traveling to the downtown area.
“The parklet only takes up two parking spots,” Radest said. “After repaving last year, we added 14 new parking spaces. There is also the elimination of the dumpster taking up parking spots during last year’s construction.”
The parklet will remain open to the public until early fall of this year. Research data supports the theory that outdoor parklets increase business. Tito’s Burritos owner John Stolpe is excited for the parklet’s return to Summit.
“We’re very excited about the parklet,” Stolpe told LocalSource over the phone on April 12. “It was very successful last year. We appreciate having the extra seating for dining. We’re a small establishment so having the extended dining space was excellent.
According to an April 10 press release, the parklet will again be funded through a private/public partnership with Tito’s Burritos and Batavia Cafe. Although these businesses made a financial contribution to the parklet, it is a public space where residents can enjoy spending time outdoors in the Summit area. It’s composed of wood decking to keep it sidewalk height and is flanked by 10 planters. It holds six tables and 12 chairs. Safety features include a temporary curb and barriers with wheel stops to prevent automobiles from accidently driving onto it.
City officials state that in an effort to create additional public gathering spots, the city purchased four additional tables and eight chairs for Lyric Park, on the corner of Beechwood Avenue and Bank Street. The area already contains a permanent seating wall and was designed to function as a parklet-style gathering spot.
“We are very pleased about the return of the downtown parklet,” Radest said. “We hope it will increase activity in our downtown area. I hope people will enjoy these beautiful outdoor spaces.”