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Main Street parklets under study

Feb. 7—The future of the two so-called parklets in the Historic Downtown area has created such an influx of feedback that members of the Claremore Main Street board of directors have issued a formal statement to the public.

The parklets are outdoor seating areas constructed of metal and wooden picnic tables.

Saying only that officials are "engaged in ongoing discussions at the board level to explore potential solutions to address the concerns raised," the statement signed by Cassie Woods Howell, board member and media contact for the nonprofit, gave no indication whether plans to construct more permanent structures at a cost of more than $7,000 would proceed.

The current two parklets became an issue at the January Main Street board meeting, when a group of downtown merchants and building owners spoke out against the parklets.

The agenda included a review of the outdoor seating areas, and a presentation of a new parklet design was given by Kyle Clifton, city planning director and Main Street board chairman.

A petition and a video usage report were referenced as supporting the merchant and building owners contention that neither the shopping public nor a majority of the merchants or building owners downtown consider the parklets an asset.

The loss of parking, accessibility, the visual appearance of the structures and lack of use by downtown shoppers and visitors was cited by those opposed.

The generic board statement read:

"The Claremore Main Street Board is addressing the concerns voiced by the community regarding the parklets situated in Downtown Claremore. As stewards of the downtown area, we understand the importance of maintaining a vibrant and welcoming environment for residents, visitors and businesses alike.

"Over the past few weeks, there has been an influx of feedback from various stakeholders regarding the placement and impact of the parklets. The concerns raised encompass a range of issues, including accessibility, traffic flow, and overall aesthetic appeal. The board wants to assure the public that these concerns have not gone unnoticed, and we are committed to finding a resolution that balances the interests of all parties involved.

"We recognize that any changes made should take into account the diverse needs of our community and ensure that Downtown Claremore, and the Lilac District, remain accessible and inviting to all."