If the Downtown Sudbury business improvement area has its way, the new patio outside Peddler's Pub on Cedar Street will be the first of many in the next few years.
The patio takes up the entire sidewalk and a boardwalk that wraps around it by occupying the two previous parking spaces.
The design was commissioned by Downtown Sudbury, which will require other businesses who plan to build similar patios to use the same design, said Maureen Luoma, the organization's executive director.
“We want to maintain some sort of consistency and look,” Luoma said.
Christopher Gainer, Peddler's Pub's manager, said the larger patio was the only viable option for the restaurant and bar.
“It wouldn't have made much sense, economically, to have two tables outside.” he said. “In order to utilize the whole sidewalk, we got 26 chairs, with room for 30 people, and we built a nice walkway, which is just an extension of the sidewalk.”
As for concerns about downtown parking, Gainer said he doesn't see an issue.
“Downtown has lots of parking,” he said.
The business improvement area says there are 3,700 parking spaces in downtown Sudbury.
“There's a problem with education, I think,” Luoma said. “People don't necessarily know where all that parking is.”
Luoma said more outdoor patios could make Sudbury's downtown more of a destination for outside visitors.
“If we can create that desire (to come downtown), people won't be so hesitant to walk a block,” she said.
As for Peddler's pilot patio, Luoma said she sees strong potential for the model to expand downtown.
“There's no question in my mind that this is going to be successful,” she said. “This isn't a new thing. Other communities are strong on patios.”
The pilot project required a sidewalk occupancy permit and permission from the city to take up two parking spaces on the street. The plan meets city requirements by providing enough space for wheelchairs or sidewalk sweepers.
Smaller businesses will be able to forgo the design if they don't take up the sidewalk with their patios, but for larger bars and restaurants that require more patio space, the boardwalk design will be required to get the go-ahead from the city.
Downtown Sudbury was inspired by a push from businesses in downtown Barrie to install more large patios in that city.
Barrie's patio program has been going strong for about five years, Luoma said.
Peddler's patio opened to patrons last week, but there will be an official opening on June 6, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and some planters added for ambiance.