Downtown Asbury Park will be open for business soon as the temperatures turn warmer and outdoor entertainment will be allowed from 3 to 9 p.m.
At a recent City Council meeting Deputy City Manager Michael Manzella discussed plans for the reopening of Cookman Avenue to pedestrian traffic. He said the layout will be similar to last year with tables outside and restaurants allotted space into the roadway.
The orange barriers set up across Cookman Ave. to stop cars will be replaced by attractive planters and smaller barriers.
The street will be closed from Thursday to Sunday, the same as last year.
There were concerns raised by council members about the public works department being able to move the large planters without damaging them.
However, Manzella was assured by the public works department that it is not a concern.
The closing of Cookman Avenue to vehicular traffic last summer helped many restaurants survive. It was so successful many places kept their outdoor dining past November weather permitting.
Manzella also said the state has said the expanded liquor licensing for the outdoor space will be extended until October of 2022 to allow restaurants to serve more customers and recoup some of the losses they suffered over the past year.
“They need time to recover,” Manzella said.
A 10 p.m. deadline will be enforced for tables to be cleared as a courtesy for downtown residents. The plan also calls for outdoor entertainment from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. and for public art exhibitions.
One welcome addition will be special pick up and drop off locations for rideshare passengers and food delivery drivers.
They will be allowed to park in the designated spots for up to 15 minutes.