October 31, 2014

OUR VIEW: Proposal could limit downtown parking

Concerned citizens will have another chance to express their concerns about a project to expand the intersection at Main and Center streets.
City officials will host an informational meeting about the Kansas Department of Transportation project on March 8. Specifically, they’re inviting downtown business owners to the meeting, but residents are welcome as well.
A thriving downtown is critical for Gardner to maintain its small town appeal.
Although the community’s downtown corridor has faltered occasionally in the past, easy access is vital to retain the businesses that exist downtown and to bring the few empty store fronts new life.
A state plan, in conjunction with KDOT, could hinder downtown’s ability to attract and maintain consumers and businesses.
Downtown business owners have complained about a lack of parking in the past, and the new plans may hinder motorists’ ability to easily access businesses in the city’s core in the near future.
The Gardner City Council gave its blessing to move forward on plans to expand the intersection of Main and Center streets in January.
The proposal would shift the center of the intersection to the south limiting access to Bruce Funeral Home. It maintains parking on the north side of Main Street but eliminates several spaces on the south side – leaving between four and six spaces on the south side of Main near Elm Street.
There’s still time for concerned citizens to raise their voices about how the project might affect local businesses and the community’s vital downtown core. Officials estimate work on the project will start in April of 2013 and be complete in August of that same year.
Construction will create some tricky times for businesses, but the final project might lead to a similar result.
An informational meeting about the project for business owners will be at 4:30 p.m. on March 8 at Gardner City Hall.

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