WATERVILLE — Two downtown restaurants will move ahead with plans to offer outdoor seating after gaining unanimous approval Tuesday night from the City Council.

The restaurants are You Know Whose Pub and Italia-ah, both located in The Concourse.

The proposals had drawn controversy last month over concerns the outdoor seating, which would extend into the road in The Concourse, would block traffic, including customers of KFS bank.

City officials Tuesday night said the concerns had been cleared up during a meeting with the business owners in the area.

“Initially there were some pretty serious concerns, and I’m pleased we have come to an agreement everyone supports and has signed off on,” said Councilor Winifred Tate, D-Ward 6. “I think this is a really important pilot project for how businesses in the city can move forward with expanding outside dining options.”

Both entities plan to offer outdoor dining on a trial basis from Aug. 1 to the end of September, with a hope to expand outdoor dining in future years, said Kevin Joseph, owner of You Know Whose.

“I think I speak for myself and Jennifer when I say if it’s successful, we would absolutely want to make this permanent,” Joseph said.

“We want it to work for everyone in the area — for Day’s Jewelers, the furniture store next door. We want to develop the back side of The Concourse, and hopefully it can have a life of its own. The two-month trial is to make sure everything gets straightened out and it can work for next year.”

The city plans to use concrete barriers to block the road during that time, but a time frame for when the road closure will start has not been established yet, according to City Manager Mike Roy.

A third restaurant, 18 Below, also requested an outdoor dining permit from the council; that request was tabled until the next meeting. The restaurant is seeking to block off two parking spots on Silver Street to accommodate outdoor dining.

In other business Tuesday night, the council gave final approval to a $762,702 bid from Vortex Aquatic Structures International for repairs to the slide pool at the Alfond Municipal Pool and an amendment to the city’s marijuana moratorium ordinance to extend it six more months, until Jan. 16, 2019.

The proposed repairs to the slide pool have been the subject of debate since Mayor Nick Isgro suggested re-directing pool funds for the repairs as part of a budget veto handed down June 21. The debate came to a head last weekend after Councilor Lauren Lessing distributed flyers saying the mayor wanted to close the pool and urging people to voice their opinions on it.

Several people Tuesday spoke in support of the pool, while others questioned the spending on the slide.

Thomas Klepach, who visited the pool Tuesday with his children, Roa and Isla, brought them to the council meeting to speak about the pool as an asset to the community.

“The pool is a part of the community,” Klepach said. “I understand it’s not making money, but I don’t see that as the purpose of the community pool. It’s a place come together for recreation and community.”

The slide pool project is being funded in part with a $560,000 grant from the Harold Alfond Foundation and city officials have said they are hopeful the foundation would also pitch in on repairs for the main pool and kiddie pools.

“If the pool is going to need another $1 million for repairs in the next five to eight years, and that’s going to take a 50-50 (matching grant), where is our 50 percent coming from?” said resident Sandy Sullivan. “How are we going to save that? Or are we going to come back in five years and say we have to raise taxes again because we’re not prepared to make the repairs?”

The council also was scheduled Tuesday to take up discussion of Mayor Nick Isgro’s veto of a $41.9 million combined city and school budget. No action had been taken on the veto or budget by press time.

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

[email protected]

Twitter: @rachel_ohm

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