Downtown Safety & Walkability Plan

Dear Downtown Business Owners:

I hope you are enjoying the buildup to this opening weekend. I know everyone is looking forward 
downtown Charlevoix again. I’m writing you to let you know that last night the City
Council approved a Downtown Safety and Walkability program for our downtown. I believe this
program will improve the local resident, seasonal resident, and visitor’s experience in our downtown.
The goal of this program is to make our downtown more desirable to more people by making it easier
and safer to walk through downtown during the current pandemic.

There is a wide spectrum of people with varying opinions on the pandemic, but regardless of any facts
that can be presented for or against those opinions, the reality is that many people are still cautious
about going out and engaging in the local economy. The purpose of this program is to make our
downtown accessible to as many people along this spectrum of varying opinions as possible. The City
of Charlevoix welcomes everyone to engage in our local economy in whatever way is most comfortable
for them. The details of the program are below:

Downtown Safety and Walkability: The basic part of the program is that many of the parking spaces on
Bridge Street will be converted into pedestrian space. And other spaces in the parking lots and the side
streets will then be dedicated for curbside service. At first, this will only happen on weekends as
described in the schedule below. The schedule may change based on need.

All parking on Bridge Street where the blue line is depicted on the picture below will be converted into
walking pedestrian space. The additional space will help in the following ways;
  • Restaurants may utilize the sidewalk space for outdoor dining.
  • Pedestrians will have more space to social distance while walking downtown.
  • Note: Parking adjacent to East Park and Bridge Park will remain as parking throughout the summer.
Outdoor dining: Restaurants will be encouraged to continue outdoor dining along the sidewalk on
Bridge street. Additionally, other restaurants will be able to utilize space on the side streets for
outdoor dining.

Curbside Pickup locations: It is important to allow businesses to continue offering curbside pickup.
The City will mark off parking in the lots and side streets and designate them for curbside pickup
locations. This will allow restaurants and shops to direct their customers doing call-in orders to a
certain location for pickup. The proposed locations are depicted in hot pink on the picture below.
Outdoor shopping: Council has not approved this yet, but Council asked for information that would
allow stores on Bridge Street to place limited merchandise on the sidewalk for this summer. More on
this at the next council meeting.

Downtown Safety and Walkability Dates of Operation:
May 22nd to June 26th – Weekends only (Friday morning to Monday morning).
June 26th to Labor Day – Seven days a week.

I know that there are a lot of unknowns this summer but I am hopeful that we can market our
downtown as a desirable space for all visitors, whatever their comfort level, to come and engage in our
local economy, when the time is right. It seems that we have a lot of second home owners that will be
in town this weekend. I wish you all the best of luck as you navigate all the new ways to conduct
business during these trying times.

Best regards,
Mayor Kurtz
Downtown Safety and Walkability Map