Wednesday, September 22, 2021     Volume: 22, Issue: 29

Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on August 5th, 2020, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 21, Issue 23 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 21, Issue 23

Solvang may close Copenhagen Drive for the year

By Zac Ezzone

With the COVID-19 pandemic raging on, the Solvang City Council agreed that the city will likely need to keep Copenhagen Drive closed to vehicles for the rest of the year.

The city closed off the road in June to provide businesses with space to expand into the street as public health regulations limited shops’ and restaurants’ ability to serve customers indoors. Copenhagen Drive was scheduled to reopen to vehicles after the July 4 weekend, but with many businesses still facing closures of their indoor facilities, city leaders said the street would need to remain closed longer.

“It’s reasonable to say we’re looking at a much longer period of time,” City Manager Xenia Bradford told the council during its July 27 meeting.

When the closure first took place, some business owners weren’t on board. During a council meeting on June 8, Lions Peak Vineyard owner Jennifer Soni said she was “appalled” by the closure and called the effort “pathetic.” But during the council’s July 27 meeting, she had reversed course and said the closure has been a positive boost for her business.

“I really hope that we continue with what we’re doing on Copenhagen because I have [heard] so much positive feedback on the weekends from people that come here,” Soni said. 

Scott Shuemake, president of IDK Events, which handles tourism and marketing for the city, said his team has spoken with owners of 90 percent of the businesses on Copenhagen Drive, and all but two are supportive of the closure. 

“From a tourism perspective, I think this is something that should stay at least through the end of the COVID restrictions,” Shuemake said.

IDK Events initially covered the costs of the tables and chairs and other furniture placed in the street to make it more inviting to pedestrians, which totals more than $2,200 a week, Shuemake told the council. Because the closure now appears long-term, he asked for the city to take over the rental payments. 

“The cost of the closure was 150 percent of our contract value for the first quarter,” Shuemake said. 

The council agreed to take on these rental costs and asked staff to come back with a report on what it would cost for other rental options or to purchase the furniture outright. 

Mayor Ryan Toussaint said the city needs to come up with a plan outlining what the street will look like for the foreseeable future. 

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