Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

CNHI/Southeast Iowa

August 27, 2013

Knoxville talks downtown parking

Committee will meet Wednesday morning

KNOXVILLE — Marion County and State of Iowa employees working at the courthouse taking up parking spaces in downtown Knoxville has always been an issue of contention. Since Second Street between Main and Robinson is unavailable during the streetscape project, the issue has grown. 

City Manager Harold Stewart said when the project is complete, downtown will have gained a couple of new parking spaces. In the interim, finding spaces to accommodate customers for downtown businesses, as well as the 47 county employees and approximately 15 state employees in the clerk of courts office has become difficult. 

"Those are customers as much as they are employees," Supervisor Mark Raymie. He added that the county's payroll level, at the courthouse is approximately $2 million a year.

These people often frequent downtown eateries and businesses, but also grow discouraged by the city's three-hour parking limitation downtown and the resulting tickets. Raymie asked if there could be a pass issued to county employees to try to avoid these tickets. 

"Over the years, I've dismissed several tickets," Knoxville Police Chief Dan Losada said. Those who are eligible for dismissed tickets are potential jurors and others associated with service to the court system. It does not include those who are employed by an office operating within the courthouse on a daily basis. 

The city purchased the former Goff and Nash building, behind the former Our Town Florist, to be utilized for parking. Stewart said parking has been an issue for generations and he is considering the designation of the Goff and Nash property as county employee parking. 

City council candidate Mike Roberts suggested the county purchase one of the buildings available for sale downtown. They could demolish this building and create a parking lot for county employees. Other large employers in Knoxville do this. 

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The Iowegian wants readers to think about the solicitation ordinance that will prevent groups or individuals from entering a roadway to solicit money. The Centerville City Council in June by a 5-0 vote passed the first reading of just such an ordinance. Public pressure and during a subsequent special meeting, the council voted 3-2 to table the ordinance. A second special meeting to discuss the solicitation ordinance is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 7 at City Hall. So, the question of the week is, "Do you or do you not support the ordinance to prevent solicitation of funds in city streets?"

A. I support the ordinance
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