As Nevada County celebrates its move into the next less restrictive tier in reopening business during COVID-19 restrictions, Grass Valley has decided to move forward with keeping Mill Street fully closed to traffic through the Christmas Holidays and the New Year. Over seventy residents and business owners submitted public comment to the agenda item with forty-seven in support of continuing the street closure, thirteen against it, and ten that had alternative suggestions. Mayor Lisa Swarthout, a former business owner on Mill Street, is disappointed that more businesses did not chime in.
Even the thirteen businesses that did respond were split on how they wanted the city to proceed.
Swarthout acknowledged the concern of the business owners that want to re-open the street to traffic and parking.
Swarthout stated that drive-by traffic and parking directly impact the amount of people visiting the stores. A number of public comments also stated concern about the difficulty of people with physical disabilities having to park and then walk to the stores.
To sweeten the deal, the city is kicking in 50,000 dollars of CARES Act funding to help market businesses, decorate for the holidays, and assit with winterization of outdoor settings.
Swarthout was the only dissenting vote, but she did say she would do whatever it takes to help business succeed during the holiday season and further into the pandemic.