Manchester welcomes pedestrians in downtown pilot

A half block of Hanover Street in downtown Manchester will be a pedestrian walkway every Friday and Saturday night for an hour in a three-week pilot program that starts at 6 p.m. this Friday.The mayor and aldermen recently approved the limited program to close the mini-theater district to traffic between Chestnut Street and the Citizens Bank Garage access way an hour before shows start at the Palace Theater at 7 p.m. (That will allow cars to access the garage from Elm St.)The program starts Friday, July 13, and ends Aug. 4, though if it is successful it “may be extended or expanded in the future,” said Jay Minkarah, Manchester’s economic development director.”Our intention is to create a new center of activity to enhance the vibrancy of downtown,” Minkarah said.There will not just be vibrancy, but music in the air. On Friday, it will be supplied by the Read/Allan Duo, sponsored by Penuche’s Grill, from 6 to 11 p.m.”This is a great opportunity for the city and the small businesses on Hanover Street,” said Penuche’s owner Chuck Kalatzes. “We are going to do our part to ensure it is a success.”Penuche’s and other restaurants — including Ignite Bar and Grille, Hooked Seafood Restaurant, Planet Marshmallow Dessert Café — plan to extend their business onto the street during the hour. — BOB SANDERS/NEW HAMPSHIRE BUSINESS REVIEW

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