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Will Downtown Purchase Street Become a Pedestrian Plaza?

Will Purchase Street be closed to car traffic and turned into a pedestrian plaza with outdoor dining?

Purchase Street Downtown May 2020

(PHOTO: An empty Purchase Street may be closed to traffic and filled with outdoor dining.)

That’s one of the options being looked at for a “Phase 3” re-opening that would happen on Tuesday, June 23rd at the earliest. In a video streamed discussion at Wednesday night’s council meeting, Mayor Josh Cohn described “some form of street closure with restaurant space in the streets”.

Restaurants will be limited in how much seating they offer during the re-opening, so outdoor seating should allow them to expand the number of patrons. Retail stores “don’t see a good opportunity for being open on the street,” continued Cohn. But Cohn did say there is some interest by the retailers to be open when the restaurants are open in the hopes of capturing that foot traffic.

The city is working closely with the Chamber of Commerce and there is “a lot to work through,” said Cohn.

“We can all make Purchase Street a little dining plaza,” said Councilwoman Julie Souza. If the details get worked out and Purchase Street is in fact made into a pedestrian and dining plaza, the restaurants will be “reservations-required” to eliminate crowds waiting for tables.


  1. This idea was tried summer of 1961. The city closed off most of purchase street for a couple of weeks as a trial. I was a soda jerk at McCollough’s Pharmacy. It was so quiet that we played touch football in the street. Clearly it was never adopted. But as a temporary thing it makes sense. I think it is Nashua New Hampshire that is trying this. Or maybe Manchester.


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