By a six to one vote, the Rye City Council on Wednesday night approved the continuation of the current Purchase Plaza in downtown Rye, as well as a new “winter plan” that will allow continued outdoor dining while opening Purchase Street to vehicle traffic.
Councilwoman Pam Tarlow was the only council member voting against both the continuation of the current Purchase Street Plaza until November 30th as well as the “winter plan” that then continues until the Spring. Tarlow said “Conceptually I love this,” but she then continued “I feel like there are people whose voice are being marginalized.”
Much of the council discussion was around restaurants, that have been supportive of the continuation, versus an subsection of retailers that have complained the plaza has impacted their businesses negatively. Adam Zakka, the owner of Aurora restaurant said “The plaza has been a boon for us” and explained every business needs to adapt and serve the needs of the community. “I will have to lay people off again if we don’t have outdoor space.”
Robin Jovanovich, the publisher of the local Rye Record paper, expressed disappointment saying “the survey [about the plaza] that Carolina [Councilwoman Johnson] compiled is incomplete,” and continued “I really pray that the council does not extend this until there is a public meeting.” She continued to say the merchants feel they are not being listened to.
Jim Sullivan, a partner at Ruby’s and Rye Grill & Bar, who has been effusively supportive at other meetings, continued on Wednesday night. “Why wouldn’t we keep this open?”
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