COMMERCIAL-NEWS | ROBERT TOMLINSON - The Three Rivers City Commission approved a resolution supporting a sidewalk café permit for the Riviera Theatre and Bar during their meeting Tuesday. The bar has been closed due to Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive order, and getting a permit would permit the bar to re-open with outdoor seating.

City approves sidewalk cafe resolution for Riviera

THREE RIVERS — Sidewalk seating could be coming soon to the Riviera Theatre Bar.

The Three Rivers City Commission approved a resolution Tuesday to support a sidewalk café permit with the Michigan Department of Transportation requested and submitted by the Riviera Theatre and Bar.

If approved by MDOT, a 24-foot long by 4-foot wide section of the sidewalk on Main Street in front of the Riviera against the building would be used for outdoor seating to extend their bar’s capacity and allow them to re-open. The theatre’s bar, along with many other bars across the state, was shut down July 1 under Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive order closing indoor services at bars to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The Riviera was the only establishment in Three Rivers to close under the order, which stipulates that establishments with more than 70 percent of their gross receipts coming from alcohol sales close for indoor service. However, bars statewide can still offer outdoor service.

There are several conditions that come with a sidewalk café permit, according to MDOT. Among those, a clear area would need to be maintained for pedestrian traffic while the outdoor seating is in place, no permanent fencing or structures would be allowed to isolate tables and chairs, and MDOT reserves the right to require removal of any portion of the outdoor seating as needed for any highway maintenance or construction. The permit would expire Dec. 31.

At-Large Commissioner Daryl Griffith agreed with the resolution, saying it is a good thing to help out a local restaurant.

“I think this is a great idea. Anything we can do to help our restaurants right now during all this stuff that’s going on is a no-brainer for me,” Griffith said.

At-Large Commissioner Clayton Lyczynski also agreed, and wondered if it was possible to do a blanket resolution that could give the same option to all restaurants downtown, and not just the Riviera. City Manager Joe Bippus said in conversations he had with MDOT, approving resolutions as they potentially came up for each business was “the most direct and easy route to take.” Mayor Tom Lowry said the Riviera so far has been the only restaurant downtown that has requested such a permit.

“Anything we can do to help keep businesses like this alive during this time, we should do,” Lowry said.

In other business…

* Commissioners approved an agreement with MDOT to receive grant funding for a reconstruction project on Fourth Street from Broadway Street to north of the railroad tracks. The project, estimated to cost a little over $619,000, is currently out for bid in the MDOT system, with $374,200 of it paid for with the grant funds.

* Commissioners approved a $140,000 change order with Northern Construction Services Corp for the Spring Street reconstruction project to replace the lead water services discovered during construction and for a time extension on the project due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The money would come from the city’s water fund.

* Commissioners approved a total project cost of $72,689.50 for an IT infrastructure update project, which includes a $33,221.50 quote from Gracon Services for server and switch updates and an initial cost of $39,468 for the conversion of most users to Microsoft’s M365 productivity suite.

* Second District Commissioner Alison Haigh inquired about the city’s spring cleanup program. Bippus said Waste Management responded to him saying the people he needed to talk to were on vacation, but said he’s hopeful they would be back this week to help set a date for cleanup.

Robert Tomlinson can be reached at 279-7488 ext. 23 or

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