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City Commission discusses ways to assist businesses as they reopen

City Commissioners meet via Zoom on June 8.

Mount Pleasant City Commissioners discussed the impact of the  decision to close a portion of East Broadway Street at their virtual meeting on June 8.

East Broadway Street, between Main and University street, will be closed to traffic from June 12 through Sept. 30. The closure provides additional space for outdoor business activity and pedestrian circulation while still upholding support social distancing guidelines as businesses reopen.  

Downtown Development Director Michelle Sponseller said the goal was to try to accommodate the needs of the business owners, the property owners and the public at large.

"If we need to, we can either expand it or we can open it back up for parking," Sponseller said. "It's really going to depend on the business owners and whether they embrace it and utilize. If not then the best thing we can probably do is open it back up for parking."

Commissioners offered their concerns about a lack of parking the street closure could create. 

"I talked to a few of the business owners down there ... they saw really no benefit in this. They really weren't for it," Commissioner Petro Tolas said. "They have existing decks right now which gives them extra space. They felt that shutting that down (the road) would be a hindrance to their business."

Mayor Will Joseph said city officials will be evaluating the impact of the street closure throughout the summer.

"Keep your ears open to the public and those business owners. We will reevaluate this as we move on," Joseph  said. 

Additionally, commissioners discussed the recent events across the country involving police brutality against people of the black community. 

City Manager Nancy Ridley discussed two items regarding the Mount Pleasant community and the Department of Public safety.

"About one-and-a-half to two years ago, we made a commitment to implement a number of items in the city regarding having (Lauria) working with the Mount Pleasant Area Diversity Group and the Human Rights Committee on a number of initiatives," Ridley said. "In December of last year, we reported on those and the solid foundation of progress that had been made thus far and reiterated our commitment to build upon that."

Lastly, Ridley discussed that they train officers on various deescalation tactics and that some of the best trainers in the state are from the Mount Pleasant police staff. She noted that are also trained on appropriate use of force and with Community Mental Health.

"Please note that I am not saying this because I think that we have nothing to change in these matters, that's certainly not the case," Ridley said. "I merely share the information to indicate that I believe that in our community we are a little bit in front of the curve as we are committed to many of the initiatives currently being discussed at the state level."

The City Commission Meeting can be viewed on the City's YouTube Channel.