A proposal for a temporary park on part of Federal Street in Portland has stirred up a controversy in the Old Port, where nearby business owners are strongly divided about the idea.

Proponents say the park would create an interesting urban oasis and draw pedestrians to upper Exchange Street. Opponents say it would create a parking and traffic nightmare for their patrons. The two sides do not even agree on whether to call it a park or some other type of urban space.

A vote Monday night by the Portland City Council could decide the fate of the proposal.

Jim Brady, whose Press Hotel at the former Portland Press Herald building at the corner of Exchange and Congress streets is expected to open soon, came up with the idea after a visit to similar spaces in Montreal and other cities.

The proposal, dubbed the Federal Street Folly by Brady, would shut off a 200-foot section of Federal Street between Exchange and Market streets to vehicular traffic from June 5 to Oct. 12. The Maine College of Art and landscape architect Tony Cowles produced a design for movable seating, lighting and performance areas for brief presentations of acoustic music, poetry readings and other entertainment. The cost of the temporary park, which would be privately financed, is estimated at between $20,000 and $50,000.

The City Council’s Committee on Transportation, Sustainability and Energy endorsed the idea and sent it to the full council for a vote last week. Councilors generally supported the plan, but postponed a vote until its meeting at 7 p.m. Monday in council chambers at City Hall to give businesses in the area more time to express their concerns.

Opinions about the project among nearby business owners range from intrigued to irate. Some declined to comment, not wanting to add to the tensions that have arisen among proponents and opponents.

But others called the proposal a thinly veiled bid by Brady to create more outdoor seating for the hotel’s restaurant now that the city has adopted new outdoor dining restrictions.

Valerie Guillet, director of The Language Exchange at 80 Exchange St., sent an email to students Friday raising her concerns and urging them to speak out at the council meeting. Guillet questioned the impact on parking and wondered why there had been no traffic study of the proposal.

“Running a business in this town is hard because of an already existing parking phobia. I just don’t see how adding self-serving obstacles … is the way to improve it,” Guillet wrote in her email.

Trudy Poulin, manager of a family business, Optical Expressions, at 87 Exchange St., said the proposal would substantially decrease motorists’ access to the upper half of Exchange Street, which is a one-way road from its entrance at Congress Street to its end at Fore Street.

“This is our only entrance to our block on the street. I have been here 19 years and I feel the longevity of our business is partially due to the ability to access the street,” Poulin said.

She said there are already several nearby parks, such as Tommy’s Park and Post Office Park on Exchange Street and Lincoln Park on Federal Street. Poulin also said that nearby businesses were not adequately notified of the proposal.

Other business owners say the pop-up park would be a boon for business, drawing more people up the hill in the Old Port. Prakash Choolani, proprietor of Peter Renney’s Fashions at 105 Exchange St., just around the corner from the proposed temporary park, said it is worth testing out the idea. Choolani, who has owned the business for 42 years, said he wants Portland’s business sector to grow.

“Let’s try it. We should give it a chance and maybe it will benefit everyone,” Choolani said.

Noah Talmatch, owner of Timber Steakhouse and Rotisserie at 106 Exchange St., said it would be a shame if bureaucratic red tape put an end to the project. Talmatch said it would be even better to close the entire length of Exchange Street to vehicular traffic. A former New Yorker, Talmatch said Portland does not have traffic problems. Adding a few more turns for motorists is not a good reason to stop the park, he said.

“It is a fun, creative thing to do and more of those things should be done in Portland,” Talmatch said.

Sean Ireland, Brady’s project manager, declined to be interviewed about the controversy before the City Council vote, but issued a statement noting that there are 2,000 parking spaces in public garages and parking lots within a 2.5-block radius of the proposed park.

“Sean Ireland and Jim Brady both believe good urban planning and development includes walkable and pedestrian-friendly spaces that help attract people, not cars, and ultimately increase retail and commercial commerce,” the statement said. “We believe Portland will embrace this concept and it will be good for Portlanders, retailers, Portland Arts and those who visit.”