Shawbucks, the BWB Center and the Jamestown Savings Bank Arena may soon have more parking to offer to their patrons.
A request was made to abandon the portion of Lafayette Street between West Third and West Second streets, and during the meeting of the Jamestown Planning Commission on Tuesday, a motion was passed to support the request. The next step in the process is for the recommendation to be brought to the City Council, which can then act on the request.
"This is something that has been talked about for maybe 10 years now," said Jeff Lehman, director of Public Works. "It's something that has been brought up but just never really moved forward. We've looked at it, and probably the main reason that the businesses would like to do this is to facilitate more parking on Lafayette Street. "
According to Lehman, Lafayette Street would become a one-way street between Third and Second streets, which would allow for angled parking on the street.
"This will let folks drop off their stuff at the arena and then proceed down to Second Street," said Lehman. "It will still be open to the public, but it will give the city more control over the events that happen down in the corridor. Right now, we're looking at permits for that area on a monthly basis because of all of the events that go on."
Should the abandonment of Lafayette Street be passed, there is an agreement in place between the three entities for ingress and egress to their given facilities, maintenance on the street and who will pay for the street lights. Most, if not all concerns that the city may have had have already been ironed out.
Lehman also noted that the traffic flow on Second Street will remain the same, and possibly even decrease due to the one-way restriction that would be placed on the street.
"It almost becomes safer," he said.
When asked about liability concerns, Lehman pointed out that this would be no different than if someone were to be in a parking lot. The abandonment would also open the area up for parking during the day, no longer being covered by city parking enforcement.
"Any enforcement would have to be on the part of the new property owners.," said Lehman.
According to Jim Goodling, downtown project associate for the Jamestown Renaissance Corporation, each of the businesses will be taking on their own liability insurance for the parcel, as well. The abandonment of this property will reduce potential future setbacks, which would allow for other projects involving the three businesses to be completed more easily, as well.
"The success of the westside depends heavily on the success of the arena," said Lehman. "We're trying to do everything that we can to facilitate their ability to hold more events."