Free Parking To Be Voted On, Arena Expansion Project Discussed

A resolution regarding parking fees and removal of courtesy parking in downtown Jamestown were discussed by the City Council on Monday. Should the resolutions pass, parking fees outside the downtown central business district would decrease to 25 cents per hour, and the free parking places in the heart of the city would be removed.

Councilman Brent Sheldon said the parking monitors had done a good job of policing the downtown area to keep vehicles from remaining in one spot too long.

“I’m just concerned about the business owners and the loss of the free parking,” Sheldon said.

“Actually, there were business people involved in the proposal,” Councilwoman Marie Carrubba said. “It was their recommendation that came a couple of weeks ago and they discussed it and said this is what they wanted. Now, whether everybody is agreement with it, I can’t say, but it was the conscientious with the committee that this is what need to be done.”

In November, the Parking Advisory Committee presented a variety of recommendations regarding improved parking, including converting all two-hour meters to three-hour meters; changing non-lease surface lot meters to 12 hours; converting the out skirts of the central business district on Fifth and Sixth streets to 12-hour meters and keeping all current exceptions which would include 30-minute meters, loading and unloading zones and handicapped spaces.

The proposal also included eliminating the courtesy zone parking spaces and implementing three-hour meters, as well as implementing “smart meters” that will accept credit cards and PayBy Phone apps as well as coins.

David Leathers, co-president of the Northwest Arena Board, came before the Jamestown City Council to discuss the possible sale of a small plot of land to the Jamestown Arena.

“The arena board is obviously committed to this project, but there was a desire to get to the council members a little more detail, a little more background, a little more information related to the project just so you had more of that information,” Leathers said.

The proposed plan is to construct a new addition to hold a Kids Zone play area; create gift shop and office spaces for the National Comedy Center; add a concession stand to sell snacks and water; and enhance the third floor conference room. The project is proposed to cost around $5 million.

The first step in the process is to purchase the a 98-by-9.5 foot portion of city property that is currently being used for five parking spaces located on the north side of West Second Street.

Leathers said there is no connector or impact to the street or two-way traffic on Second Street by the project. He said any future decision making related to the street would be up to the city leaders.

Mayor Sam Teresi said there is no part of the plan that would lead to the permanent closure of the street.

“As I said before, there will be closures of streets all the time,” Teresi said. “Contemporary closure, construction, special events and activities, but this project does not have any intention or need for anything the strip of property to accommodate the physical expansion.”

Teresi said Jeff Nelson addressed the council last week to express his concern that the matter go back to the planning commission for review. However, Teresi said by the nature of the site plan requirements, it has to go back to the planning commission because the commission is the only body that is able to review and approve the site plan before building permits can be issued. He said it is also included in a conditions of the sale, much like the sale of former Board of Public Utilities building on Washington Street.

Leathers referenced a letter received from Greg Edwards representing the Gebbie Foundation. In the letter, Edwards said five separate parking spaces will be provided for the public that will replace the parking spaces that would be lost in the sale. The parking spaces would be located in the Third Street lot across from the arena.

Teresi said because the proposed sale is a direct sale, a public hearing needs to be in place before any council vote.

Lilian Ney, a member of the board, said she enjoys the idea of the Kids Zone. She said there has often been thoughts of having a kids museum or a similar attraction.

“It would be an attraction, and also educational,” Ney said. “The Kids Zone is really, really appealing.”

Leathers said the age range for the Kids Zone would be around 3-12.

City Council is scheduled to meet Monday at 7:30 p.m. for a voting session.