Down­town de­vel­ops park­ing covenant

Is­sue arose from em­ploy­ees/res­i­dents park­ing in po­ten­tial cus­tomers’ spa­ces.

Siloam Springs Herald Leader - - FRONT PAGE - Mike Capshaw Staff Writer mcap­

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.

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