No simple solution for downtown parking
By Rod Haxton, editor
Meetings limit parking, customer access
Lack of parking in downtown Scott City.
It’s a great problem to have when one considers the alternative. But it’s still a problem for some businesses who say their business suffers - or customers are inconvenienced - when certain downtown events make it impossible for customers to park near where they want to shop or do business.
Craig Braun, owner of Braun’s Butcher Block, and Craig Jameson, owner of Craig’s Barber Shop, feel their businesses have suffered because of events at the Bryan Conference Center and The Majestic which have lasted for several hours and taken up many downtown parking stalls.
“Last Monday and Tuesday I didn’t have a customer come in my front door for four hours because of all the parking that was taken up by meetings at the Bryan Center and The Majestic,” Braun told the Scott City Council on Monday evening. “My customers don’t have a place to park.”
Jameson related a similar experience, pointing out that on Monday some customers had to park a block away.
Both asked if the council had some ideas on how to deal with the parking situation. Even though some people use the parking lot east of Wheatland Broadband and The Majestic, that’s not always enough to accommodate bigger events, both businessmen noted.
Scott County Development Committee director and former Chamber of Commerce director Katie Eisenhour said the problem isn’t new and she’s heard concerns from other businesses in the past.
“It’s a challenging situation,” she said.
The council said it and the Chamber of Commerce can encourage people to take steps to relieve some of the parking issues, but their options are limited.
City Attorney John Shirley said it would be possible to limit downtown parking to two hours, “but then it becomes a problem with enforcement.”
“It’s human nature that if you can’t park in front of where you want to go then you feel like you’re walking too far,” said Shirley.
Councilman Everett Green wondered about putting 3-4 parking meters on each side of the street in hopes of encouraging people to limit their long-term parking.
“How would customers feel about that?” asked Police Chief Chris Jurgens.
It was felt that meters would not be a deterrent to long-term parking.
Mayor Dan Goodman wondered if there were too many handicapped parking stalls downtown.
One possible means of gaining more parking in the downtown area is to use the former Heartland Foods parking lot. Braun and Jameson indicated they would get in contact with the owner to see if that would be a problem.
It was also suggested that business owners and their employees who aren’t already using the parking lots be encouraged to park vehicles off Main Street so that stalls will be available for customers.
Goodman said that the council, with assistance from the Chamber, will try to encourage more cooperation from businesses, but “about all we can give you is sympathy.” He said the council will discuss possible solutions and they are also willing to hear suggestions.
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