Market Street opens to pedestrians
CORNING - Mayor Bill Boland called it a “glorious” day Friday when he and other local leaders cut the ribbon to officially reopen Market Street -- by closing it.
The City Council unanimously voted Tuesday to temporarily close four blocks of historic Market Street from Friday through Aug. 1 to allow restaurants, bars and other businesses the outdoor space the need to operate under state rules.
“It’s just been an incredible feeling,” said Coleen Fabrizi, executive director of the Gaffer District. “It’s been amazing all morning long to see business workers come out with big smiles on their faces and their hearts filled with hope that they can finally get back to doing what they do: taking care of this incredible community.”
Denise Ackley, president of the Corning Chamber of Commerce, said no one could have ever anticipated the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Certainly no one would have foreseen it,” Ackley said. “But as a lifelong resident of this community, I know this community to be resilient. We always have the resilience of rising again -- and welcome back, Corning.”
Boland said Friday’s event was, in effect, reopening the City of Corning.
“We’ve been through a lot,” Boland said. “We’ve been through a dark period. Now is the time to come out and have some fun. Visit our businesses, do business with our businesses, come often and use this as an opportunity to express the spirit which has always been Corning.”
Chris Sharkey, president of Corning Enterprises, called the reopening of many businesses on the street wonderful.
“We are providing a $500 grant to help each (Market Street) business, which may see incremental expenses from coming out onto the street,” Sharkey said. “It could help them pay for things like tent rentals, needed tables and chairs, extra staff for the outside area or an increase in insurance costs.”
“We wanted to make a commitment to help,” she added. “We know a lot of these businesses don’t have a lot of cash. It's a changing situation now, so they are going to have to face some up-front costs to get out onto the street.”
Rick Maxa, a local business leader who has lived on Market Street for nearly 15 years, said he supports the street closure.
“I love the idea,” Maxa said. “It’s opening up walking, getting people to the restaurants and all of our retail stores and businesses. Absolutely, I support it.”