The Downtown Development Authority Discusses Parking Problems

Published 8:51 pm Thursday, March 14, 2024

The Downtown Development Authority met on March 12th. Mainstreet Director Qaijuan Willis gave the finance report, with current funds available in Downtown Development’s account as $48,438.03.

For upcoming events, Beerfest is set for April 6th. Another update was the resignation of secretary-Treasurer Eshonda Blue, creating an opening on the Board. Willis mentioned the need to submit names to the Mayor and Council for recommendations.

The Board also discussed plans for Pearlman Park. Chair Charles Crisp stated that the current plans they had could reduce hardscape to maximize parking, noting that it was in increasing issue.

Crisp also noted that property lines were a concern in any plan to revitalize Pearlman Park. He mentioned one question was whether the alley was owned by the McCloud sisters. He referenced a recent survey. “Paul Johnson did a survey in 2016 and updated it last year.”

While the survey indicated it was in their possession, Qaijuan noted that according to the deed, the alley was public. However, public access to the alley did not necessarily mean that the alley wasn’t privately owned. Crisp noted that if public use was maintained long enough on a private alley, it would remain in public use. The Board discussed a new survey to resolve any lingering questions.

Crisp mentioned a proposition that the City lease the parking lot at the corner of Jackson and Jefferson street with the purpose of resurfacing it and making it into public parking. A prior attempt had failed due to one business owner wanting to keep ownership of their portion of the parking lot.

Crisp stated he was considering requesting Splost money for the Downtown Development Authority. Crisp considering requesting $500,000 for parking with the ability to pursue additional street scape.

Board member Jimmy Skipper mentioned the need to have a three-year with three to five key projects before pursuing funding. “You got to have a plan if you are going to ask for half a million dollars in Splost money.”
Willis stated that Emily Davenport, who spoke at the Mainstreet retreat, expressed interest in doing a parking study.

Willis reported that the City Manager, Diadra Powell, asked that they apply for a community development grant from Congressman Bishop’s office for their streetscape plan. Willis stressed the need to gather letters of support.

Willis mentioned that the deadline was originally March 15th, but was extended to March 22nd.