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String of new businesses in downtown Janesville spark parking discussion

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Marcia Nelesen
June 19, 2013

— Three businesses are moving into the first block of South Main Street downtown by mid-summer, and the owner of the consignment store next door on Tuesday noted, “Our block’s going to get busy.”

“All of a sudden, we have a little section of retail,” said Joni Bozart of Carousel Consignments, 31 S. Main St.

Bozart also predicted her section of downtown would not have enough parking to accommodate more customers.

Developer Todd Kimball recently converted the vacant store at 33 S. Main St. from an office into retail space. The space filled in one week with Modern Charm and Once Junky Now Funky moving from down the street, and a new resale shop opening. Another new resale shop has opened across the street, and a new Italian restaurant recently opened up the block.

It was information such as this that was behind a meeting Tuesday between city staff, a consulting firm, about 20 downtown business people and several council members.

The city is looking at how best to soften the effects on downtown businesses when the downtown parking plaza and its 270 parking spots are removed in four or so years.

Other concerns businesspeople mentioned included safety, especially when those who work downtown will have to walk farther to their vehicles at night. Kimball said the city should consider installing surveillance cameras downtown, and developer Jim Grafft said more parking is needed as more housing units are built.

The consulting firm will return later this summer with a parking adequacy model that considers nearby uses.

The land use data will be helpful because it will tell where people are going in relation to where they park, the consultant said.



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