Bijou Café owner Jean-Pierre Knaggs said he’s been trying to get help from the city to improve the streetscape around his restaurant for years.
“I feel like an abandoned step-child,” he told board members of the Downtown Improvement District (DID) Tuesday.
The DID board invited Knaggs to its Sept. 1 meeting to see if he’d be interested in contributing to streetscape improvements around his restaurant at First Street and Pineapple Avenue.
Board members have been working on a plan to improve the trees, plants, sidewalks, light poles and more within the district, which runs roughly from Goodrich Avenue west to Gulfstream Avenue and Second Street south to Ringling Boulevard.
The ground in front of Bijou Café between the sidewalk and curb is crushed shell, with few plants, and Knaggs said the streetlights don’t work, because the wires lie on the ground.
“It’s inconsistent with the rest of the city,” he said.
To install plants in that space, irrigation lines would have to be placed under the sidewalk to reach the crushed-shell area.
“If you’re willing to help us with irrigation (cost), it gets us where we want to be,” DID Chairman Larry Fineberg told Knaggs.
“I’m willing to cooperate,” Knaggs said.
The two parties will begin working with a landscape architect to determine the cost of the project.
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