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Palm Springs restaurant says closing Palm Canyon Dr. will hurt business

After Palm Springs City Council decided Thursday evening to allow a two-block street closure on Palm Canyon Drive to accommodate more outdoor dining seating, one restaurant a block up from the closed area says they're getting the short end of the deal.

"It's just really frustrating," said Christine Willinsky, general manager of Tac/Quila. She said the restaurant has expanded its outdoor seating as much as the city would allow, but they're now maxed out at 13 tables and barely earning enough to cover expenses.

Willinsky said she's worried that the closure just south of her restaurant, from Baristo Road to Tahquitz Canyon Way, will pull foot traffic away from Tac/Quila and other uptown restaurants.

"Tourists are naturally going to be drawn to that two-block closure," Willinsky said. "If they're concentrated just in that area, they're not going to walk – especially during summer when humidity's high. They're not going to want to walk all the way up here."

Although Tac/Quila has the option to expand beyond the sidewalk into the parking lane without closing the street, Willinsky said it would cost the restaurant about $15,000 – cash she said most businesses don't have on hand right now.

"We're going see how it goes there and then it might expand even further," said Joy Meredith, president of Main Street Palm Springs. She said the closure is just a pilot program, but she's aware of retail businesses who have concerns.

"Some of the businesses that are in the closure area are concerned that they're going to lose their parking, and that they might lose some foot traffic," Meredith said. "A lot of people are going to want to go there but there are still a lot of people that don't want to confront those sorts of crowds. So I think we really don't know what the reaction is going to be just yet."

In a survey of 150 people, 55 percent said they wanted to see a larger closure.

"I just don't think the city is listening to what the businesses are saying, a majority of the businesses, or helping a majority of the businesses," Willinsky said.

You can reach Jake on TwitterFacebook or email him at jake.ingrassia@kesq.com.

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Jake Ingrassia

Joining News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2 as a reporter, Jake is excited to be launching his broadcasting career here in the desert. Learn more about Jake here.

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