(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) City council has taken steps to tackle the parking issues plaguing business owners in downtown St. Joseph.
Cris Coffman, owner of Nesting Goods, said she has run her downtown business for four years and has seen the area grow in residents, employment and traffic.
“There are a lot of new businesses, new life in the community, a lot more places for people to live in Downtown. It’s an exciting time,” Coffman said.
At Monday’s city council meeting, councilman Brian Myers motioned for the creation of an ad hoc committee to discuss possible solutions to overcrowded parking.
“We’re not coming in with any type of agenda or any type of direction from council other than, you know, this is what the situation is downtown with parking, what is the best solution for moving us forward,” Myers said.
During the meeting, Myers listed two major key issues he feels need to be discussed: why more people aren’t using the parking garages and whether or not street parking should remain free.
“We’re seeing a type of momentum [downtown] that we haven’t seen in my lifetime, and we, unfortunately, are at the point where in spite of all this activity in our downtown our parking fund is continuing to hemorrhage money,” Myers said.
Coffman said parking downtown is a deficit for the city, meaning they pay a portion of the bill for things like maintenance on the parking garages and the meter maids who keep an eye on parking in the area.
For this reason, Coffman said a solution to generate funds to pay that money needs to be made. She said the committee will be discussing the possibility of adding parking meters on downtown streets.
“It is something that we are going to have to look at,” Coffman said. “As a community grows, you are going to run into issues like this and it’s a positive even though some people may feel like it wouldn’t be the best thing for our downtown. We need to look at all sides of the situation before we make that decision.”
She added that if the committee does bring forth any of these possible solutions and the council adopts them, the community will have plenty of opportunity to be heard before a final decision is made.