Mundelein not increasing license fees for outdoor dining on Park Street

The municipal fees a coffee shop and two restaurants pay to set up on a pedestrian-only section of Park Street in downtown Mundelein during warmer months won't increase this year.

The village board on Monday agreed to keep rates the same for Tina G's, the Park Street Restaurant and Area Coffee, the three businesses that typically take over Park Street's roadway and sidewalk east of Route 45.

Licenses cost $500 plus 15 cents per square foot of outdoor public space used. The fees generated about $2,620 for the village in 2022, Assistant Village Administrator Peter Vadopalas said.

The measure also establishes the 2023 outdoor dining season as running from May 1 to Nov. 1.

Trustee Kerston Russell is eager for the businesses to expand outdoors.

“It's one of the greatest things that we have going on in town,” Russell said during Monday's meeting at village hall. “I'm glad we're continuing the tradition.”

Alfresco dining on Park Street began in May 2020, a few months after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Cash-starved restaurateurs were desperate to serve customers — and people were desperate to leave their homes, dine out and socialize in person.

Village employees install portable barriers to close the roadway to cars so the businesses can put out tables and chairs. Area Coffee hosts an outdoor open mic event on Fridays during the season, too, and the pedestrian-only zone will expand east to Seymour Avenue on Saturday mornings this season for a farmers market.

The village started charging the businesses to use Park Street last year. The revenue is supposed to help offset the village's costs for garbage collection, installing and watering plants, installing signs and other associated services, officials have said.

Area Coffee owner Frank Mahar called the outdoor dining “a great partnership” with the village.

“We hope we are helping create space where people feel safe to gather and share life together, loving each other in ways we may have forgotten or just never learned,” he added.

Similar efforts have been successful in Arlington Heights, St. Charles, Wheaton and other towns.

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