Empty Storefronts Increase Along Main Street Pärnu ({{commentsTotal}})

Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

Sprawl and strip malls at the outskirts may be threatening the commercial vitality of the main shopping street in Estonia's biggest resort town.

Traffic restrictions in Pärnu's Old Town area are also considered a cause of the departure of a number of businesses from Rüütli street, ERR radio reported this week.

LVM realty is moving away, as is a pharmacy, the most recent additions to a list of stores that have closed.

Ingmar Saksing of LVM said the total closure of the Old Town to traffic was a reason, as was a restriction on advertising on the facades of historical buildings. "They say firms on Rüütli street can get by without ads, but I don't agree. Ads should be possible, although suited to the environment."

He said upkeep of the facades was also difficult, as the city insisted on keeping the street open to summer tourists.

Deputy Mayor Romek Kosenkranius said he understood the concerns, but said the traffic restrictions should stay in place on Rüütli Street itself. He does support opening all surrounding streets to motorized traffic, he said.

Rüütli Street was in the news today as well for a jewelry store robbery. Police are asking that any witnesses to the Monday incident come forward. A thin man around 40 years of age and 180-185 cm tall who spoke Russian grabbed seven gold necklaces from the seller, then fled.