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LOCAL GOVERNMENT

New parking plan proposed for downtown

Council to reconsider four spots for jail

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main street parking 19-08-13

These four Main Street parking spots have been central in discussions between the city and county about a new jail. (Photo by Rebecca McKinsey)

 

City officials have come up with a plan that could add several parking spots downtown while also allowing the county jail project to move forward as planned.

The proposal involves repainting lines for parking spots on the east side of Main Street to the west of the Carroll Police Department, angling the spots differently to fit two more in the same space, and reconstructing the west driveway into the police department parking lot into a street-parking area as well, which could add four spots. The additional six spots would more than offset the loss of four spots to accommodate the jail, city officials said this week.

Plans for a new Carroll County jail were in flux after the Carroll City Council recently voted against relinquishing four parking spots further north on Main Street to accommodate jail construction. The three council members who voted against it — Misty Boes, Clay Haley and Carolyn Siemann — said their constituents don’t want to lose the additional downtown parking spots. The jail will be located in the spot west of the county courthouse that formerly housed a parking lot, already reducing downtown parking by 15 spots.

County officials returned with a statement that they might ask the City of Carroll to pay for an unspecified portion of the new county jail’s project costs that are a result of “improper action by the city.”

Haley said last week he would call for another vote on allowing the county to use the space that currently houses the four parking spaces. He said this new proposal is a result of brainstorming with county officials and work on the part of city staff members.

“This brings it back to a neutral equation,” he said. “We’d not be losing parking; we should be able to expand.”

The council will discuss the loss of the four spots again at its meeting at 5:15 p.m. Monday, although the proposal for new parking spots likely wouldn’t be formally proposed until later, Haley said.

As for closing off one entrance to the police parking lot — there are two others police cars can use on the lot’s south and east ends — that change would be a win-win, since the police department has noted difficulty with extra cars entering the lot from the west side, particularly when traffic is stopped for trains, City Manager Mike Pogge-Weaver said.

“Closing that off would be beneficial from a safety standpoint as well as a parking standpoint,” Haley said.

The city would cover the cost of repainting the newly angled parking spots, and for the larger construction project of closing off the parking lot entrance and creating new parking spots, tax increment financing might be used, Haley said.

“That gets a little buy-in from everybody,” he said.

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