Downtown develops parking covenant
Issue arose from employees/residents parking in potential customers’ spaces.
SILOAM SPRINGS — “Downtown Stakeholders” have developed a parking covenant, which essentially amounts to an honor code, intended to alleviate parking issues around businesses.
Main Street Siloam Springs executive director Kelsey Howard and Siloam Springs Community Development Director Don Clark presented the covenant to a dozen “Downtown Stakeholders,” which included business owners from the area, during a meeting at the Community Development Building on Tuesday.
“We shouldn’t say solution, because that implies there is a problem, but we all know it can get better,” Howard said. “We’re hoping people will view this as helpful and positive and give this a try before we have to go into something much more complicated.”
Howard and Clark spent the past few months gathering feedback from the community and exploring how other cities handle downtown parking. They
called the parking covenant “unorthodox” because it’s the first of its kind in any city they had researched. Installing meters or enforcing parking restriction using the city’s police department or even hiring a parking enforcement manager simply isn’t feasible.
They’re hopeful downtown regulars, such as landlords/landladies, residents, business owners and employees, will sign the covenant that is meant to be “considerate of residents, friendly to businesses and simultaneously welcoming to customers/ clients. In short, they’re hopeful people who live or work downtown will stop parking in spaces typically needed for customers and visitors between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
“We’re not Tulsa yet, we’re not Little Rock. There are places to park … but we’re different than any other city in the corridor,” Clark said. “We’re not at that place where parking is an issue. Convenience is the issue, so we see this as a good neighbor policy where each of us can enforce it.
“We can all agree as business owners, residents or landlords to not park in front of someone else’s business for eight hours a day or for two whole days without it being moved.”
The covenant highlights areas where “Downtown Stakeholders” are encouraged to park, which includes the Arvest community lot, Gray Communications lot and on side streets such as Central, Alpine, Maxwell, North Broadway, East University and East Ashley.
“There are people who are going to be unresponsive and not sign,” Howard said. “But we can’t let those few break this down.”
The group is hoping to put the parking covenant in motion during the first quarter of 2018. One “flaw,” as Howard described it, is how and who will enforce the parking covenant because some of the “Downtown Stakeholders” wanted to avoid confrontation, so Howard will be seeking volunteers to serve as “deputies” from within the business community.