City Council Discusses Abandonment Of Parking On Lafayette

Finding a parking space downtown during events isn’t always easy, but it may be getting easier in the future.

During a City Council meeting recently, the abandonment of a portion of Lafayette Street was brought before the Public Safety Committee.

The abandonment proposal was previously brought before the Jamestown Planning Commission, which recommended it after a 4 to 1 vote in favor of the project. Current plans call for free, angled parking running the length of Lafayette Street between Second and Third streets, with 13 feet of driving width to allow vehicles enough room to travel down what would become a one-way street.

A similar example to the design that they are planning to utilize is the parking area on Cherry Street near The Post-Journal, running from First Street to Second Street. The section of road, which was abandoned and conveyed to the abutting property owners in the 1980s, uses a layout of angled spaces much like what they are considering for Lafayette Street.

“There will be a loading spot along 23 total parking spaces,” said George Spitale, D-At Large. “The only downside is that we will be losing revenue from the meters that are there. I was also concerned about events at the Gateway Center Train Station and whether or not people would be able to park there. Those were the main questions that I want to get answers to.”

Kimberly Ecklund, R-At Large, the three businesses in the area have agreed to take over any responsibility for maintenance on the property.

“We are losing parking meter revenue, but those businesses are taking over all costs associated with the abandonment of that street,” said Ecklund. “They will incur the utility costs, so the offset is that we’ll have less expenses as well. It essentially becomes privately owned property.”

Despite the fact that the area will essentially become private property, Shawbucks, the Jamestown Savings Bank Arena and the BWB Center will still have to go through the public event permit process when they want to shut the street down said Mayor Sam Teresi.

“They will still have the events reviewed by department heads,” said Teresi. “They won’t be paying a fee, but on an event by event basis when they want to shut this area down, they’ll still go through the same process that they do now.”

According to Jeff Lehman, director of the Department of Public Works, this abandonment will also allow for further expansion of Shawbucks in the future. Should any repairs or maintenance be necessary, the city will maintain all of the utility easements that are located on the property.

A public hearing will be held on Monday prior to the City Council meeting to address any concerns of area residents regarding the abandonment.