“Within 45 minutes of setting the tables and umbrellas up I received a phone call saying I was violating a city ordinance and I had to take them down,” said Jakes Place owner Jeanie Embry.
The ordnance that Embry spoke of states, “No person shall encumber any street or sidewalk, no owner occupant or person having the care of any building or lot of land bordering on any street or sidewalk shall permit it to be encumbered with barrels, boxes, cans, articles or substances of any kind so as to interfere with the free and unobstructed use there of.”
Simply put, the colorful umbrellas and tables might obstruct the free use of the sidewalk outside the café.
So Embry was instructed by city police officer Don Burkhead to remove the tables.
Before erecting the tables, Embry spoke to the law office next door and got permission to set the tables out during the hours her restaurant is open.
She even cleaned up any garbage that littered the sidewalk before setting up the two tables and chairs for her customer’s comfort.
“I just thought it would be nice for customers to sit outside and enjoy a cup of coffee or lunch,” said Embry. “Everyone likes to see a happy, cheery place and that is why I spent the money putting the tables up.”
Shortly after the phone call from the city police, Embry made a few calls herself and was granted a reprieve from removing the tables.
“I spoke to one of the city councilmen and he spoke to someone and I can leave my tables up for one week,” said Embry. “The next city council meeting is Monday. I have to ask their permission to put the tables up and take them down everyday. “
The Grayson County Industrial Consultant Dudley Cooper was impressed with the small tables. The umbrella issue has raised a few eyebrows with councilmen and customers.
“They were the first thing I noticed when I came around the square this morning,” said Cooper. “This little square has so much potential. It is just a great old square.”
Cooper has been trying to get the attention of some individuals in Frankfort to help beautify the square.
“One person can make one phone call and ruin a good thing for everyone,” said Jake’s Place customer Scott Layman. “It just seems like a shame that things work that way.”
The issue of allowing the tables and umbrellas on the sidewalk in the square will be addressed at the city council meeting, Monday, May 4 at 6 p.m. at city hall.