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City officials have been discussing forming partnerships with downtown lot owners to develop additional parking along and near Main Street.

The Crossville City Council wants more information on some of the downtown parking options studied by the city’s engineering department.

“The staff needs some directions on which options you want us to pursue,” City Manager Greg Wood asked the council during its Dec. 1 work session.

There were 10 options presented to the council at its Nov. 19 retreat, adding up to 254 parking spaces in the downtown area, with construction costs for all 10 options estimated at upwards of $280,000. There would be additional costs to purchase or lease the property.

Wood said, “You want to look from a quadrant standpoint for where you want parking to serve the Palace, serve the Depot, downtown in general.”

Options included the area of Express Lunch, near the Cravens Building off First St. and Thurman Ave., behind the Cumberland County Courthouse, behind Mitchell’s Drugs, and off Thurman Ave. near the Hotel Taylor.

Councilman Scot Shanks said Option 2, at the corner of Lantana Rd. and Main St., was already being used for parking.

Wood said, “Really Option 1 is more of a gain. Option 2 is making what you have nicer.”

Option 1 is behind Express Lunch next to Rector Ave. No parking is available there, but it could include up to 45 parking spaces. Wood said that lot could serve several businesses in the area of Main St. and West Ave. as well as the Palace Theatre.

Shanks said, “I like Option 1, but it always depends on what kind of deal you can work out.”

Estimated construction cost for Option 1 is $66,980.75.

Councilman Art Gernt said Option 2 might also be a good place for a commercial property. 

Wood said, “You don’t want to eliminate a business coming downtown.”

Councilman Rob Harrison said the city had presented options to purchase the property for the lots. He asked if there had been any thought in leasing property in exchange for maintenance and upkeep.

Dr. Kendall Morrison owns the existing parking lots behind the Hotel Taylor building and has offered to lease those to the city. The agreement proposed limiting public parking to after her business is closed. She had offered to take care of all the maintenance, but the city’s insurance carrier would not include her on the city’s liability insurance if the city was not performing the upkeep and maintenance. 

Wood said there were other properties were the owners might prefer not to sell the land but instead work out a long-term lease with the city.

Shanks said, “I agree trying to do some kind of lease deal. It could be something as simple as the city is servicing the parking lot.”

Gernt suggested getting more information on Option 1 along with Option 3 at the Cravens Building and Option 5 behind the courthouse.

Shanks said of Option 5, “It still is a good spot. The county employees are parking around the courthouse. If they didn’t park there, it would leave all kinds of parking around the courthouse.”

Mayor James Mayberry said the owner of Option 3, with 32 parking spaces, has expressed interest in leasing the parking lot to the city.

Councilman RJ Crawford said he favors Option 2, Option 3, Option 5 and Option 6, which is located behind Mitchell’s Drugs on Rector Ave.

“Just seeing the growth we’re seeing, the fact we don’t have enough parking when we have large events, there are a lot more businesses going in around Option 6,” Crawford said. 

There was also discussion of additional parking off Thurman Ave., Option 7 and 8.

City Engineer Tim Begley said leasing the current lot owned by Morrison would be a cost-effective option, as would leasing the Cravens Building parking lot, Option 3.

“That’s going to be way cheaper than what we can build,” he said. “That takes care of those two quadrants.”

He said Option 1 could easily be combined with Option 2 if more parking were needed later in the area of Express Lunch.

Option 6 behind Mitchell’s Drugs is currently a gravel lot, with about eight cars parking there. If paved and striped, Begley estimated it could serve 27 parking spaces.

“Then you’ve got all four quadrants,” he said.

Begley said much of the need for parking around the courthouse came during the day and not for after-hour events at The Amp.

Harrison said he had been contacted by a business owner in that area, who said parking for the library was limited when they hold events. 

“Plus there’s also several restaurants in the area,” he said.

The item was not on the council’s Dec. 8 meeting to take any official action. Only discussion can take place in work sessions.

 

 

 

 

 

Heather Mullinix is editor of the Crossville Chronicle. She covers schools and education in Cumberland County. She may be reached at hmullinix@crossville-chronicle.com.

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