After months of waiting, there is still no set date for construction on downtown Elon’s plaza, despite the plans having been drawn up for months. Town of Elon manager Rich Roedner said that before the town can start construction, they have to figure out the finances. 

“We're hoping that we'll have sufficient funds to actually go out, get the construction designs done, and then get it into the ground,” Roedner said. 

The town will have a better idea of when construction will begin this summer, but thus far the estimated cost is about $400,000. The project might require community fundraising to help offset costs, Roedner said. 

“Either the town is going to come up with $400,000 in its budget, or possibly come up with a lesser amount, and then look to the downtown committee to do fundraising, to help make up the difference.” 

Roedner said the idea for the plaza came about when the COVID-19 pandemic began and the town closed off part of West College Avenue so community members could have a spot to eat outside. It was then when the town realized the space was a great place to gather.

“We see this as a long term gathering spot for the community, akin to what we've had with the tent, much nicer people, you'll be able to enjoy music on Friday nights,” Roedner said.

The town also plans to start designing a new outdoor space along North Williamson Avenue, in front of Oak House, Roedner said. This will convert parking spots in front of the businesses into a more permanent outdoor dining and lounging area. 

“We're hoping to take the existing seating area that's sitting in those two parking spots outside of Oak House, physically move that seating to the brick sidewalk, and then build a new platform around that,” Roedner said. 

This space will be directly outside restaurants such as Oak House and Acorn Coffee, Roedner wants anyone to be able to use it.

“It's not going to be dedicated any specific restaurant, but it'd be dedicated to the general public to come and sit,” Roedner said. “It'll be that center of downtown that we're kind of missing right now.”