MANSFIELD, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – In an effort to spruce up historic Downtown Mansfield and provide safer gathering spaces under COVID-19 restrictions, Mansfield city leaders have approved a plan to build parklets along Main Street in front of businesses.

The parklets are outdoor seating areas built on existing parking spaces in front of shops and restaurants.

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Parket rendering (credit: City of Mansfield)

Downtown Mansfield, Inc. is the nonprofit that will pay for the first parklet to go up.

Their president Dave Goodwin said, “I think it’s an evolutionary step for downtown Mansfield in that it’s going to help bring people back down here and give them places to gather.”

He said COVID-19 has changed the way people think and look at gathering spaces, and he is hoping the parklets will address some of those concerns.

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“We don’t want people to be afraid to come downtown, because there is no place to sit and socially distance,” said Goodwin.

With the approval to build the first one Goodwin says he is hoping to get others built as well.

He said they cost $6,000 each and they will need to come up with more funding and donations for future parklets.

Any business that pays for one will have it named after them.

“Downtown needs a little boost right now,” said Goodwin. “The people down here are all struggling. Small business owners. And if this can help them it’s the time to do it.”

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The first parklet is expected to be built within days.