There are some great plans on the drawing board to revitalize downtown Gardner.
Recent discussions have centered on amphitheaters, walkways and bike trails, even apartments or townhomes.
We’re all about that.
But we wonder — where’s the parking? According to a count conducted several years ago, it’s estimated there are 750 parking spaces in the downtown corridor.
Of course, some of those appear to be privately owned, or are a distance from the core.
Lack of convenient parking in Gardner has been an issue for several decades, and thru the years space by space has been whittled away. A public lot where the Johnson County Library now stand: gone. Two spots were taken for the parklet. A few spaces on 56 Hwy in front of the former pharmacy. The aquatic center.
When city hall and the library were built, the city waived the number of required parking spots, and that parking lot is often full now. Gardner’s population, and the city staff, has increased.
Also, parallel parking on 56 Hwy is dangerous. Trucks and traffic speed thru fast enough to shake windows; pedestrians who cross — even at crosswalks — are advised to be careful.
Adding more traffic, making – already scarce – parking even tighter is short-sighted.
We like the idea of revitalizing downtown, although Gardner is fortunate to currently have an active business area – as evidenced by the struggle to find parking.
It’s important we do this right, and parking is key.