Council hears request from business owner to address parking issues

Posted November 6, 2019 at 9:33 am

Albany City County, due to its regular meeting falling on election night, instead held a special call meeting the night before–on Monday, November 4.

Since the meeting was a call session, only specific items of business that were on the agenda could be actually voted on.

All members were present for the approximate 40-minute special meeting.

After approving minutes from the council’s October meeting, on a motion by councilwoman Tonya Thrasher, the governing body voted unanimously to approve a 2019 budget amendment to include a $200,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for Albany Emergency Water System Repairs.

In conjunction with the aforementioned grant, the council, on a motion by councilman Reed Sloan, voted 6-0 to authorize Mayor Lyle Pierce to sign any documents related to the Albany Emergency Water System repairs which notes overruns will be borne by the City and any and all other documents necessary for said grant.

The council held a special call meeting early Wednesday morning (too late for press deadline) to hold second reading of the budget amendment ordinance pertaining to the CDBG water system repairs grant.

Following only a brief discussion, and also on a motion by Sloan, the council voted unanimously to have an In God We Trust sign erected onto Albany City Hall at an approximate cost to the city of around $750.00.

There was also mention of a possible second sign that could be placed at the police station via donations.

Arica Collins then addressed the council about downtown parking, primarily around her business.

Collins, the owner of Dyer Drug for the past 11 years, noted she had recently acquired Shearer Drug, and with the added customers around the square, made for a major parking challenge.

She said there needed to be more areas to free up parking or add additional parking spaces, noting a lot of her customers were elderly customers who could not walk long distances to gain access to the pharmacy.

Collins requested the council open up discussions for possible solutions to the parking challenges facing the downtown area, primarily around her business at the corner of East Washington and Cross Street, directly across from the courthouse.

Councilwoman Thrasher suggested adding a couple of additional 15-minute parking spaces in front of the drug store, and mayor Pierce also suggested adding one additional handicap parking space in front of the pharmacy.

This would bring the total number of 15-minute time limit signs to four, and two handicap spaces for a total of six spaces along Cumberland Street in front of the business.

Collins said that would be a good starting place and would be a big help.

The discussion also included requesting that county employees park in the Foothills Welcome Center parking area in lieu of around the courthouse, or adding additional 15-minute time limit signs around the courthouse side that faces the drug store.

During that discussion, Collins noted she was also going to address the Clinton County Fiscal Court about the parking issue as well, and mayor Pierce noted that although the parking spaces around the courthouse is city property and maintained by the city street department, it would be best to get the county’s input into county employee parking.

The mayor also noted that there is a huge amount of traffic all around the courthouse and entire area on district and circuit court days.

Collins also said that the drive-thru pickup area at the pharmacy gets backed up some times and related she would like to be able to have a couple of spaces across the street, near the Foothills parking lot, marked off to allow drive-up customers a place to park and have their medications brought out to them and keep traffic to the drive-up from having to stop in the street.

The council, without necessity of a vote, did agree to add the two additional 15-minute signs and one additional handicap sign erected in from of Dyer Drug on Cumberland Street.

Councilman Tony Delk said he felt if the county agreed to have its employees use the Foothills parking lot it could free up a lot of spaces around the square, especially around the courthouse.

Mayor Pierce also announced the city would be sponsoring the annual Christmas at Home food and toy drive, with the cut off for collections will be December 4 and pick-ups and deliveries complete by December 18.

To put a name of a child or family on the wish list, or more general information, contact Melissa Smith at city hall at 387-6011.

(A more detailed article on this year’s food and toy drive will appear in next week’s Clinton County News.)

The mayor also announced that the annual city employee Christmas dinner would be held on Thursday, December 5 at 11:30 a.m. at city hall.

The council also discussed briefly, but took no actions, on the recent Boo Fest, the need for city equipment and street repairs, the most recent completion of fire hydrant replacements and councilman Delk also commended the Foothills Festival Committee for a job well done, noting this was one of the best Festivals yet.

The next regular meeting of Albany City Council is scheduled for Tuesday, December 3 at 5 p.m. at city hall and is open to the general public.