We like Carol McLean's plan for Irises to have outdoor seating in front of her restaurant during the summer. It would add a dimension to downtown Plattsburgh that is too rare now and that is good for everybody.

She asked the Common Council last week for permission to station tables with umbrellas in three parking spaces outside the restaurant. The council will probably deal with the issue tonight.

To her credit, she thought of and countered just about any reason for denying the request.

She said she'd pay to have the city install temporary cement barriers on the periphery of the spaces, so traffic safety would be no issue.

She even said she'd decorate the barriers, so the barriers, themselves, would be an aesthetic asset instead of a liability.

She said the spaces would scarcely be missed, since the college students who usually park there are home for the summer.

Since it's summer, and nice weather, customers wouldn't mind parking down the street half a block in the city parking lot and walking to the restaurant.

And, to her way of thinking, it would be only fair of the city to grant the request, since it is already committed to providing outdoor seating near Bridge Street eateries.

There is no debate that Irises is an asset to downtown. It has long been one of the classy fixtures in the neighborhood. It has earned this small concession.

There was a time when it was one of a very few downtown restaurants. Now, downtown features a larger variety of eateries, with Irises being just one in a very competitive atmosphere. This proposal of McLean's is a good one and should be granted.

Councilor George Rabideau mused during last week's meeting, "Where will it all end?" -- meaning, what if every restaurant wants the same consideration, what then?

The answer, logic would dictate, is that Plattsburgh would have a series of sidewalk cafes, which would be far from a detriment. Why not? It's the kind of feature that gives a city character, charm. It's the kind of thing that makes tourists remember their experience.

With downtown restaurants springing up throughout, and all offering their own unique set of advantages, give Carol McLean credit for trying to keep her establishment in the forefront of thought among customers and potential customers. She has sunk virtually every argument against granting the request, and there remain many reasons to think this is an idea that will enhance the entire downtown, which is one of the city's most important goals.

We wish her well with the enterprise -- and the same to anybody else who has the ingenuity to either use her idea or come up with another.

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