Finding a spot

Business owners voice concerns about limited downtown parking

Photo by Karin Elton Pictured are vehicles parked along Third Street. Downtown Marshall business owners told the city administrator Wednesday they need more parking spaces.

MARSHALL — When someone mentioned downtown parking at the Marshall Downtown Business Association’s meeting Wednesday, it set off a flurry of comments, complaints and concerns.

City Administrator Sharon Hanson was just going to let the MDBA members get to their regular agenda after her update on how the city of Marshall is working to support downtown when a member, Derreck Deutz, owner of Columbia Imports on Third and Main, said the lack of parking opportunities near his business might be causing him to lose customers.

“If we could allot more space, say on 3rd Street, with a sign saying 30 minute parking,” said Deutz. “So people aren’t parking there all day.”

A lot of times employees take spaces that business owners would prefer go to customers.

“People will park in front of my shop,” said Nettie’s owner Jennifer Griebel. “If they work on Main Street proper they will park in front of my shop all day.”

“Same thing for MAFAC,” said Jan Loft. “Is it unheard of to ask employers to ask employees ‘please don’t use prime parking spots.’ They park all day long just because it’s easier to take 10 steps on the sidewalk.”

“Then they might park in front of someone else’s business,” said Griebel.

“The parking lots are full,” said Susan Schreier, Note Gallery owner.

“It happens everywhere, people are going to park where it’s convenient. I have it at my spa,” said Ashley Potter, owner of The Escape Spa. “I can’t keep my employees away from the forward spaces.”

Marcotte Jewelry owner John Full suggested a reminder to employees be added to the Marshall Area Chamber newsletter once in awhile.

Gina Meulebroeck, co-owner of Main-Stay Café, noted that Marshall Transit takes up “four parking spots. It’s a prime spot for parking.”

People take for granted close access to downtown businesses.

“You need to appreciate, for example, If you go to Walmart, you’re going to walk 30, 40, 50 yards, 100 yards,” said Full. “It’s a fine line. It’s a constant battle.”

The parking lots are all in bad shape, Hanson said.

“We have it on our list (of things to take care of),” Hanson said. “It’s just a matter of timing.”

Someone mentioned building a parking ramp.

“The thing with ramps is they are very expensive,” Full said.

Full said going to a 30-minute or 15-minute space is a good idea.

“It doesn’t have to be policed,” he said, but more of a reminder.

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