Dexter’s Social District Will Not Be Extended

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By Doug Marrin

Dexter’s Social District expires this Sunday, February 28, and will not be extended.

The City’s Social District was approved by the City Council last fall to encourage patronage of downtown businesses during the pandemic shutdown. The Social District is a temporary outdoor area where people can drink alcoholic beverages from participating licensed and permitted establishments. Dexter has four participating businesses—Dexter Pub, The Beer Grotto, Aubree’s, and Erratic Ales.

With Dairy Queen opening March 1, the parking lot it shares with The Beer Grotto will be needed for customer parking. The Social District tent will be removed.

At its February 22, 2021, meeting, the City Council discussed options for extending the Social District. One possibility was moving the tent, the main draw for the District, to the Clocktower Plaza (corner of Broad and Main). However, managing the tent area has been challenging in regards to snow removal, turning heaters on or off, refilling propane, and cleanup due to a DPW staff already stretched thin in its responsibilities.

The Social District experienced its peak use during Dexter’s Ice Fest in January, and traffic has steadily diminished since. With restaurants being allowed to reopen at partial capacity, the City Council chose to let the deadline expire.

Looking ahead, the Council began discussing the timeline for the reinstallation of the parklettes, outdoor seating which first appeared last summer to supplement limited restaurant capacities. The City hopes to have them in place no later than May 1.

The morning of March 1, the barricades, social tent, and snow will be removed by 11:00 a.m. to make way for our favorite Blizzard of the DQ kind.

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