Rome’s outdoor space begins to take shape

ROME – Work has begun to create a public outdoor space for business and restaurant regulars in the city center along West Dominick Street to have a place to sit, grab a bite to eat and watch outdoor entertainment air and at special events.

Known as the Copper City Commons – “terrace” areas in front of Copperccino and other businesses lining West Dominick Street downtown, as well as in the back facing Gigliotti Avenue, are currently under construction and should be completed by late spring.

City officials said the reason for building the patios was to make downtown “a walkable community” and that the city is partnering with businesses along West Dominick Street to maintain these areas. .

The city was selected in 2017 to receive $10 million through the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, and some of that funding is being used to create public outdoor spaces downtown.

The DRI is a statewide effort to improve the urban vitality of downtown New York City. The goal is to fund priority projects that transform downtown neighborhoods into vibrant communities where the next generation of New Yorkers will want to live, work and raise families.

The state’s Regional Economic Development Councils (REDCs) named 10 DRI communities after assessing each downtown’s potential for significant transformation. The DRI is an innovative and comprehensive approach to downtown revitalization.

Michael Brown, owner of Copperccino’s Coffee House at 254 W. Dominick St., and executive director of Rome Main Streets Alliance, Inc., said the cafe’s back patio is already complete, and that he and others Local business owners are excited that the project will bring more visitors to downtown.

“Today we put some tables with umbrellas and chairs on the back patio” facing Gigliotti Avenue. “Because this area is complete and we know what the front will look like ‘when completed,’ it’s exciting because it’s something that hasn’t been done in 50 years,” Brown said. “People like to see change and progress, and I think for businesses in this area it will be a real boost. parasols for the front, so it will be really pretty for passers-by and visitors to the city.”

The pandemic may not be over, but with the onset of spring, Brown said his business, as well as nearby restaurants and stores, have seen an increase in foot traffic in recent weeks. Brown said he’s glad the outdoor seating areas give people a space to feel more “comfortable.”

“Since several businesses have opened here, we’ve seen a slight increase, and because COVID isn’t as prevalent,” the cafe owner said. “During construction we want to emphasize to people that if they want to park in the back and enter that way, then they can sit outside in the back. We try to impress upon guests that there are really two sides to this whole resort. We think the rear may be quieter, while the front will have more liveliness, especially with jazz music. We try to offer a lot to different people.

Brown said he felt visitors often saw parking spaces along West Dominick Street filled and so assumed events at the Capitol Theater complex were filled to capacity, as well as businesses. But he wants to encourage visitors and local residents to park in nearby lots and not shy away from anything happening in the downtown district.

“Last weekend there was a big dance competition and the parking spaces were completely full by 8 a.m. In the past, many Romans got used to parking right in front of where they were going , and as soon as the street is full, they say, ‘We don’t,’ then go home,” Brown said. “But that doesn’t help local businesses at all. the street is full, people assume that everything is full, we hope that people will have a more urban mentality and when they see the street full, they can park in the parking lots and all they have to do is walk 50 more meters We are all delighted with the new offers in the city center and the fact that there is plenty to do at any time of the day or evening now.

Copperccino’s has now extended its opening hours to open again at 9am.

Brown said Copperccino’s is also undertaking a slight expansion with an 11-by-18-foot space adjacent to the cafe that will house a gourmet shop. Known as Epicureology, the shop will offer gourmet treats including olive oils and balsamic vinegars from around the world, as well as “fancy” mushrooms and other culinary specialties.

“Will will also have coffees and teas from around the world, and associated accessories and art – we will continue to sell art and clothing,” he said.