CATEGORY: Monroe County
HED:Aberdeen on eternal quest more downtown parking
By Eileen Bailey
ABERDEEN – Aberdeen officials and business leaders are searching for ways to provide additional parking for downtown merchants and visitors.
Mayor William Tisdale said the search began when several merchants with Aberdeen’s Main Street program asked the Board of Aldermen to change its ordinance and place a two-hour limit on parking on Commerce Street in the hope that employees and others will find parking elsewhere, thus freeing up space for out-of-town visitors and shoppers.
Currently some downtown streets have a two-hour parking limit while others have no time limits.
Additional parking exists in most sections of the downtown area, Tisdale said. There is one section of town where additional parking is limited – a block surrounded by Commerce, Meridian, Hickory and Washington streets.
There is some space but more is needed, Tisdale said. City Hall, three restaurants, a bank and various retail shops can be found within this block.
“This is the only block in the city that has no off-street parking,” Tisdale said.
The current owner of a building behind City Hall has offered to sell the structure, which was once a Ford automobile dealership, to the city for about $60,000.
Tisdale said the city could pay for the building, part of which would be knocked down to make way for a parking lot, over a five-year period.
A parking lot, he said, would assist residents doing business at the Chancery Court building located to the west of city hall on Commerce Street.
The Board of Aldermen has taken no action on the issue, pending further investigation into the need for additional parking.
Tisdale said the board voted to allow him to approach the Monroe County Board of Supervisors to see if the board would be interested in taking part in the project.
The Board of Supervisors, if it joined the partnership, would help pay the cost of the purchase of the property, the demolition of an old garage on the south side of the property and the construction of parking areas, Tisdale said. The board, he said, could give him an answer by Friday.
Tisdale said the original office building on the property that would be left standing could be used as a city office.