Two Middletown alleys will become outdoor seating for new downtown restaurants.
Middletown City Council approved vacating the alleys so two new restaurants planned on Central Avenue — Gracie’s and Central Tap & Pint — can add outdoor seating.
David Striker and Tim Buchanan sought the alley adjacent to their building at 1218 Central Ave. to be used for outdoor restaurant seating for the new Central Tap & Pint restaurant.
The Planning Commission denied their request based on comments from the city’s Engineering Department, which said the alley provided access from Central Avenue to a parking lot behind the buildings.
City Manager Doug Adkins, however, recommended overriding the city Planning Commission decision and approving the request because there would still be access to the parking lot that he said is hardly ever used.
Central Tap & Pint plans to use the alley as a beer garden and patio.
In a letter to the city, those involved in the Central Tap & Pint project said the alley is frequently used by drug addictsand dealers as well as prostitutes. The letter also said the local homeless population has found it to be a place to urinate and the stench is overpowering.
“Basically, the alley is a mess,” Striker said. “We’re going to fix it up and put a seating area in there.”
“It will make a great improvement to the downtown area,” he said.
The city also approved vacating an alley adjacent to the Torchlight Pass building at 1131 Central Ave. That alley will now be used for outdoor seating at the restaurant Gracie’s.
As part of the agreement for the vacated alley, the city will retain easements for utility servicing and repairs. Torchlight Pass will take responsibility for beautification of the alley space.