Parking loss worries Edgerton
But some local business owners aren’t so excited.
“We’re in a big dilemma here,” said Jackie Hansen, owner of Hansen’s DNA Bar and Grill at 112 W. Fulton St.
The dilemma isn’t so much what’s going in on Fulton Street as what’s coming out: 60 parking spots in the heart of downtown.
Tuesday, workers fenced off about two-thirds of the municipal lot between Main Street and Swift Street as construction began on Fulton Square, the $6.1 million project from Keller Development of Madison.
Eventually, the city will replace those spots with a new lot behind the development. But for now, business owners worry there isn’t enough downtown parking to accommodate their customers, employees and tenants.
About 10 owners expressed concern at a meeting at Hansen’s bar Tuesday.
Trish Daino, co-owner of Grandpa’s Store, 207 W. Fulton St., worried she’d lose customers if they couldn’t park close enough to her antiques store.
“My problem isn’t walking,” she said. “I’ll walk 3 miles if I have to. My problem is all my customers are old.”
Although the Keller project has been in the works for years, the parking issue didn’t gain momentum until last week, when business owners were invited to a pre-construction meeting with developers and city officials. Only two business representatives showed up, city Administrator Ramona Flanigan said.
Flanigan said she was surprised owners hadn’t brought up the issue earlier.
“It’s never too late to have a conversation; it’s never too late to find solutions … (but) I’m surprised at this late date people didn’t realize there was going to be a building in the parking lot,” she said.
The city has called a special public works meeting for 5:30 p.m. Monday. Meanwhile, officials are waiting to hear what kind of ideas the business owners suggest, Flanigan said.
Possible solutions suggested at Tuesday’s meeting include:
-- Allowing business owners and/or downtown tenants to park overnight on Fulton Street. Parking currently is not allowed between 2 and 5 a.m.
-- Asking owners of private lots to loan spaces to the city.
-- Restricting some spots on Fulton Street to two hours to allow customers to get in and out.
Hansen already has lost at least one customer to the development, she said. Monday, a regular lunch customer who drives a dump truck was dismayed to learn he would no longer be able to park in the downtown lot, she said.
“When he heard that it was getting fenced off, he said ‘I’m really sorry … I guess I can’t come back,’” she said.
If you go
What: Special meeting of the Edgerton Public Works Committee to discuss downtown parking.
When: 5:30 p.m. Monday
Where: Edgerton City Hall, 12 Albion St.
Last updated: 8:02 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012