Peekskill hopes to get more foot traffic to downtown businesses by closing off streets

The city of Peekskill is hoping to drum up more business for shops hit hard by COVID-19 by closing down streets to traffic in the downtown area.
On Wednesday, the Peekskill DPW closed off Esther Street between Brown and South Division. The move comes after the Common Council approved a proposal by grassroots organization Peekskill Walks to make the block a pedestrian-friendly outdoor space.
"Our downtown doesn't really have a lot of nice sitting area places for people to gather," says Conor Greene, of Peekskill Walks.
Businesses like Beanrunner put out tables and chairs hoping the new space will help them recover from a hard few months.
"That will help us greatly because Esther Street traditionally has been a street that has saw very little foot traffic," says Ted Bitter, owner of the Beanrunner.
Peekskill is looking to revitalize its downtown area and is in line with a growing trend for cities looking to offer more outdoor dining options. The city has already closed part of Railroad Avenue near the Hudson River waterfront to help with the revitalization.
Esther Street will stay closed through October. Businesses along the street plan to offer outdoor live music and over time Peekskill Walks wants to make it a green space permanently.