CORNING - Four blocks of historic Market Street will be closed to vehicle traffic each Friday and Saturday for the next four weeks to allow restaurants, bars and other businesses to have outdoor seating through the COVID-19 pandemic.


The City Council voted 6-3 Monday night to allow the temporary closures of the popular street.


"We are pleased that we’re able to help make it happen," said Coleen Fabrizi, executive director of the Gaffer District. "I hope that all businesses have an opportunity to take advantage of it and that our customers feel safe and continue to spend money in our downtown."


Mayor Bill Boland, Deputy Mayor Chris Karam and councilman Diane Telehany, D-1, Marshall Hyde, D-4, Frank Muccini, R-5, and Alison Hunt, R-8 all voted in favor of the temporary closures.


Telehany said she has talked to several business owners and residents during the near three months Market Street was recently closed to vehicle traffic and heard little but positive responses.


Hyde said for those businesses that have been against the closure to vehicle traffic he is hopeful the Gaffer District and the Corning Area Business Alliance work hard to check in on those businesses.


"I hope they will really reach out and make every effort to come up with creative promotions for them," Hyde said.


Councilman Kate Paterson, D-2, Frank Coccho, D-6, and Mark ReSue, I-7, voted against the resolution to temporarily close street to vehicle traffic.


Coccho said prior to the vote he asked the Gaffer District to put together a survey of all Market Street businesses on the proposed street closure prior to the council’s vote.


"I was told that the timing wasn’t the best," Coccho said. "I did understand that, but if they had time to do everything else with their presentation I think they could have had time for a survey. I think they could have done that, so I’m not particularly pleased that I don’t have the survey in front of me with the majority of the merchants on Market Street’s position. Therefore I’ll be voting no. I certainly wish all the merchants the very best."


ReSue called the council’s decision disappointing.


"It just blows my mind that we are going forward with this proposed resolution with the lack of information that we have been presented once again," ReSue said. "It was bad enough last time (Market Street was closed to vehicle traffic.) Now we are in the third extension with less information. That is all I have to say, very disappointed, very disappointed in the participants and that we are even making a vote on this. That is all I have to say."


The council also approved resolutions 8-1 to allow alcohol consumption in the blocked off areas and to allow vending within 120 feet of Centerway Square. ReSue was the lone councilman to vote against each resolution.


Fabrizi said Gaffer District crews will be on Market Street at 5:15 a.m. Fridays to close the street to vehicle traffic. The crews will return to Market Street early Sunday morning to have the street reopened by 8 a.m. Sunday to vehicle traffic.