Carroll’s Main Street will lose four parking spots, but gain six, after City Council re-voted Monday on a request that will help move forward construction of the new Carroll County jail.
The council had voted at its last meeting against relinquishing four parking spots west of the Carroll County Courthouse where the new jail will be built. The jail’s current design, with two entrances on Main Street, required removing the spots. Council members Misty Boes, Clay Haley and Carolyn Siemann voted no, saying they had heard from residents who didn’t want to lose the parking spots. An additional 15 spots are being removed from downtown because the jail is being built in a previous parking lot.
City Manager Mike Pogge-Weaver sent the county a letter after that vote stating that construction work on city property needed to halt until the jail project plans were revised, and that no modifications that would involve removing parking on city property could be made. The city’s building permit for the project included several conditions, including that the entrances to the jail be recessed so that they were further away from the street and sidewalk, and that the building plans be modified if the parking spaces were not removed.
However, city staff members have since researched ways to add additional parking spots on Main Street and landed on two suggestions:
— To change the angle of six current parking spots on the west side of Main Street between Fourth and Fifth streets, adjacent to the Carroll Police Department, from 45 degrees to 60 degrees, and repaint the parking lines. That change would add two parking spots there, and the city would pay for the painting.
— To close off the west Main Street entrance to the Carroll Police Department parking lot, which runs adjacent to East Fourth Street, and add a curb there, which will allow four more parking spots to be painted. That change would be added to the next streetscape project next year and would be funded with tax increment financing funds.
Pogge-Weaver said the adjusted parking angles comply with city code and parking regulations, and that the width between lines would not change.
“I drive a pretty big pickup and have parked at both angles and have had success,” Haley said.
The second change has multiple benefits, city leaders said Monday, because it will reduce traffic cutting through the police department parking lot, both by people who confuse the lot for a street and those looking to save time when a train is passing.
“It really does create kind of a dangerous situation for the police department,” Pogge-Weaver said.
There still would be two entrances to that parking lot for police officers to use, on its south and east ends.
The council voted Monday to move forward with those two changes, as well as to re-vote on the ordinance that would remove the four parking spaces further up on Main Street to accommodate the jail construction. That ordinance passed unanimously Monday.
Haley, who called for the re-vote, thanked city staff members for finding ways to add the additional parking spots, saying, “This is what I needed for this project.”
He added that he also consulted with Carroll County Board of Supervisors Chairman Neil Bock about suggestions for adding parking.
Bock spoke at the council meeting on behalf of the county supervisors, most of whom attended.
He listed instances of cooperation between the county and city in the past, including the county’s contribution of funds to the city library project, its addition of parking underneath the new jail to clear up more downtown parking and its inclusion of recessed doors on the new jail at the city’s request (the latter at a $54,500 cost, Bock said).
“As it’s often said, a house divided cannot stand,” he said. “We’re all too young to know this, but it’s a fact that a well-trained team of horses working together can pull eight times more than an individual horse can because of working together.”