Parking woes continue

 

By Pam Reinig, Register Editor
 
A new slant on an old problem was presented to the Elkader City Council last week at their regular meeting.

Lynn Dahling, director of the NorthLand Agency Meal Site in Elkader, asked the council to consider restricting parking in front of the site weekdays during late morning and early afternoon hours. The request was made in order to provide more spaces for people who dine at the meal site. All of the site’s clientele are elderly and several have mobility problems.

“Some of the downtown business owners are not considerate of the type of business we’re running or the type of clientele we serve,” she said. “Many of our clients have been forced to park several blocks away and have to walk the distance, and that, believe me, is a problem for them.”

The meal site has four spots; one space is designated for “handicapped” parking.

In responding to the request, Elkader Mayor Bob Garms noted that parking in the downtown area is an ongoing problem. He referenced a series of meetings last fall and winter where various parking strategies were discussed. In the end, no changes or modifications were made to the way the city handles parking. And though business owners and their employees are encouraged to find alternate spaces, many continue take prime space.

“If we made a change for you, we’d have to do the same for anyone who comes before us,” said Councilman Roger Buchholz. “We know there are business people who don’t respect the fact that many of us what to save parking places for customers. It just doesn’t seem to bother them.”

Councilman Daryl Koehn concurred: “It’s not that we don’t care. We tried last winter but the clear message we got was to leave things alone.”

Name said she has always made a point to park in spaces south of Wilke’s grocery store and she was hoping that other business people would follow. Since that hasn’t been happening, she came to the council with her request as a “sort of last resort.”

“I know parking is a issue,” she said. “I just hoped people who be more considerate of the elderly in our community.”

Also at the meeting, the Council set June 24 at 5:30 p.m. for a public hearing for a $500,000 CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) regarding façade rehabilitation in the downtown area. A total of 21 building storefronts will be renovated. The work will include door, window and wall repair and replacement, masonry renovation and painting for the buildings, many of which are more than 100 years old.

 

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