Bath Gets Creative to Support Local Business

The City of Bath is providing expanded pedestrian areas to allow small businesses to expand onto sidewalks and provide physical distancing to safely shop downtown. The initiative is part of a community campaign called “For the Love of Bath.”

The City’s plans are being funded, in part, by a $75,000 grant awarded through the State’s Keep Maine Healthy plan which was designed to help municipalities pay for COVID-19-related expenses. Beginning this weekend, the City will block off parking on the west side of Front Street (from City Hall to Country Farm Furniture) to create space for pedestrians to explore shops while maintaining social distancing. Picnic and bistro tables, distributed throughout the downtown, will also be installed to give patrons of curbside restaurants a place to dine. For downtown businesses outside this zone there will be an option to create a pop-up parklets in parking spaces in front of their storefronts. For an application, businesses should contact City Planner Ben Averill at baverill@cityofbath.com or call (207) 443-8363.

“As we prepare to make these changes, we recognize that health and safety precautions are paramount,” said City Manager Peter Owen. “We will be sanitizing high-touch surfaces in the downtown, like benches and tables. We also strongly recommend that everyone continue to follow the State’s masking guidelines as they enjoy Bath. Masking isn’t just about protecting yourself. This is an easy action we can take to protect our whole community.”

Bath is debuting a new slogan with the changes to its downtown. “For the Love of Bath” is a partnership between the City’s Economic Development Committee, Main Street Bath, Maine Maritime Museum and businesses and nonprofits all over Bath. It is intended to spread a message about staying safe, shopping local, and being kind to one another for the love of Bath. More information about the campaign, including a social media contest, will be available at www.fortheloveofbath.com in the coming days. Please include #fortheloveofbath on social media posts in the City to help spread the word. 

Owen said it has been encouraging to watch neighbors supporting neighbors during the Stay Safe at Home Order. 

“The City stepped up to assist local businesses by offering a $300,000 Economic Relief Bridge Loan Program in April. It’s my hope the changes in the downtown do even more to support local business owners. It’s important that we take every measure to support them; they represent the livelihood of our friends, family, and neighbors. Please be safe, and buy local.” 

Looking for parking opportunities in the downtown? Check out the City’s Parking Brochure

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