As the city considers plans for a downtown parking and commons area in the historic district, it has employed the help of a professional to study the need.
Citing community feedback, city officials have said more parking and a commons area are needed.
Engineer Ben Turnipseed agreed. He presented his findings to the city council at the April 4 regular meeting.
Turnipseed said the study consisted of an evaluation of the number of employees and the capacities of restaurants and stores downtown.
He said there are only about 39 parking spaces on public right of way and about 111 people employed by businesses downtown, “so basically, you don’t have enough parking for the businesses.”
The city is considering condemning two lots at Shoal Creek Road and Hwy. 9, which are currently being leased to the county for courthouse parking.
The condemnation has not been finalized, and the property owner has asked the city council to explore other options.
Mayor Joe Lane Cox said he is meeting with the property owners this week to try and come to an agreement.
The private lots in question could provide 127 additional parking spaces, said Turnipseed.
“The study basically says you need more parking,” Turnipseed said. “And there are some lots available nearby.”
Mayor Pro-Tem James Grogan asked Turnipseed if there were “any potential sites available that maybe we hadn’t considered.”
Said Turnipseed: “Yes, there are other spots that would be viable also. Now, whether they’re available, I don’t know.”
On Jan. 18, the council voted 4-0 to offer property owner Jeffery Coe of Marietta an appraised amount for the private lots downtown, which the county currently leases for parking but won’t need after the new courthouse opens in the fall.
Municipalities may use the power of eminent domain to transfer property to the government for public use.