Committee tackles Gillett parking issues

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Customer parking passes, letter to landlords approved

Warren Bluhm,

The Gillett Health, Protection and Licensing Committee voted April 8 to approve parking passes that Main Street businesses may issue to clients and customers who likely will park for more than two hours.

Also, a letter will be sent to landlords whose tenants habitually park on the street.

About four dozen people jammed the City Council chambers on April 4 after a backlash when the city started enforcing a long-ignored two-hour parking limit in the 100 and 200 blocks of Main Street, which has seen great business growth in recent years.

Only a handful attended the follow-up committee meeting.

Alderwoman Nanette Mohr said tenants of apartments above the storefronts shouldn’t park for hours on the thoroughfare.

“They’re using the street like it’s a driveway, and I understand unloading groceries and stuff like that,” but there is room on the properties that could be converted to tenant parking, and a number of buildings already have parking available, Mohr said.

Mayor James Beaton agreed that the parking stalls on Main Street need to be reserved for customers.

“We’ll send a letter to all these landlords and say, ‘Hey, reminder, your tenants can’t park on the streets, and if you don’t have parking behind your building, that’s not really our problem,’” Beaton said.

The city needs a solution for some businesses that don’t have off-street parking, but it doesn’t have to be on Main Street, he said.

Beaton said he didn’t want to spend money on replacing the signs that have marked the two-hour parking zone since it was established about 60 years ago.

“We have 13 signs and as it was so eloquently put to us, nobody knew about ’em anyway, so I don’t want to spend, you know, $2,000 to replace them,” he said.

“We’ve never been that fortunate to have Main Street that full in the last how many years,” Mohr said.

The city will also issue parking passes that businesses can provide to clients and customers who likely will be in their establishments for more than two hours, such as an optometrist office or hair salon.

“This is a way to start with not a lot of cost and not a lot of time,” Beaton said. “See how this goes for the summer. I think a lot of people might relearn.”