A conversation about the chamber’s pitch to close the roads at 3:30 p.m. instead of 4 p.m. this summer was aired publicly in Village Hall Monday night.
It was met with some resistance.
“I just have a concern about closing Main Street any more than we have to,” said Mayor Paul Pontieri. “You still have people coming to work, going to work, and you have businesses open on Main Street.”
Typically, Main Street is closed from West Avenue to Maple Avenue for the events, as well as a small section of South Ocean Avenue from Main Street to Terry Street.
The chamber’s executive director, David Kennedy, said the timing problem lies with food trucks finding room next to craft vendors that have already set up on the streets when a truck arrives.
“With food trucks becoming very popular and much more sophisticated, they’re becoming a little bit larger,” Kennedy said. “So what we’ve run into is that, when the craft vendors set up with their smaller booths and the food truck tries to fit in between two of them, it becomes difficult.”
He said the Alive After Five committee believes an extra half hour would be good to allow for the 20 food trucks to arrive first, and then let the craft vendors to start setting up at 4 p.m. as usual.
Asked for her opinion, Lori Belmonte, a chamber member and co-owner of The Colony Shop on East Main Street, said she didn’t think the half hour would much of a difference to area businesses “one way or the other.”
“Now you’re closing Main Street down for seven hours, prime time,” Pontieri said. “And it’s not as much the businesses as it is the residents looking to get through town.”
Despite his concerns, the mayor said the Village Board would consider the request.
In the meantime, he and other board members asked if the chamber would consider other ideas to manage the time the trucks enter and set up in the village before Alive After Five.
“We thought it was something worth asking for, but it’s not a huge problem if not,” Kennedy said.
The dates for this years’ festivals are July 7, July 21, Aug. 4, and Aug 18.
Photo: The Flo’s Luncheonette food truck at the July 24 Alive After Five last summer. (file photo)