Rockland Main Street closure experiment commences with Juneteenth protest

Fri, 06/19/2020 - 7:30pm

ROCKLAND — Rockland’s experiment to open up Main Street for pedestrian walking and outdoor dining commenced Friday afternoon, June 19. The date happened to coincide with Juneteenth, a day recognizing the 1862 Emancipation Proclamation as well as the day, three years later when Texas officially abolished slavery. Delaware and Kentucky would follow suit in December 1865 in accordance to ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment.

Local BLM organizers took advantage of Rockland’s street closure to assemble a peaceful protest, which included a silent kneel-in, a march down the closed portion of the street and through a back parking lot at Glovers Passage, and another silent protest near Park and Main streets, during which protesters lay on the ground in the prone position.  

All the while, a few eateries catered to the few diners who were ready to eat during the 5 - 6 p.m. hour, as the protests carried forth. 

Rockland City Council members, along with several downtown merchants, organized the street closure as a way of bringing people and spending money to Main Street. The focus was mostly on eating establishments and allowing them the option of outdoor dining.

This weekend is the first of two scheduled weekends for the pedestrians and patrons; a number of Councilors hope the open-air venue will proceed through the summer.

Main Street will be closed these two Fridays, 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.; and Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Traffic is being rerouted at Main and Lindsay streets.