Parking in John Day is about to get easier for vehicles that are as big as an RV or as small as a Fiat.
The John Day City Council decided on two locations to develop for future parking at its Oct. 22 meeting.
The lot next to the John Day City Hall will be developed, and the old Chevrolet parking lot on West Main Street downtown will need to be acquired before development begins.
The future parking lots are intended to help locals and visitors find a parking spot to enjoy downtown, but parking for RVs and vehicles of the same size were also discussed.
“The biggest problem that we have is not a matter of where cars are going to park,” said Sherrie Rininger, the president-elect of the Grant County Chamber of Commerce. “We know it’s more of an issue of where these big vehicles are going to park.”
Rininger continued by asking why the John Day Elks Lodge was not in consideration when talking about parking. John Day City Manager Nick Green said the parking lot at the Elks Lodge is not owned by the city. When the Elks Lodge decides what they want to do with their property, then the option can be re-evaluated, he said.
Heather Rookstool, an employee at Java Jungle, agrees with the lack of parking for big vehicles and believes this issue creates a general parking problem for smaller cars.
“If it’s not going to be policed, I don’t really see many of the downtown merchants being super keen on paying for something that the city is not willing to police,” Rookstool said. “Say an RV does park in front of a business, we don’t have any manpower to say, ‘Please move your vehicle down to the RV designated parking.’”
Councilor Shannon Adair echoed what she said during the last meeting and talked about using signs to address the problem.
“I think that we can handle that with signage that says the certain amount of time a vehicle can park,” Adair said.
Rookstool also asked about the issue of distance between each parking lot and their distance from downtown.
The council quickly addressed that issue by talking about the People Mover as an option for people who do not want to walk.
The lot behind Dreamers Lodge was presented again as an option for more parking for employees and business owners. The city council and community members both agreed the lot wasn’t necessary because the area is too narrow to address the RV problem and current workers are doing fine finding parking.
The estimated development cost for the lot next to the John Day City Hall is $83,281. It will cost $60,000 to acquire the Chevrolet parking lot and approximately $112,392 to develop the area. Both lots will feature a public restroom, which the city currently does not have. Initial plans include a total of 26 new parking spots for cars and four pull-through spots for RVs.
The city now plans to gather more information on how to make these lots possible. Several options for funding the lots were discussed, such as the city taking out a loan or having business owners help, but no decision was made. It will be discussed at the next city council meeting.
In other city council news:
• Mike Ricker, a resident at the Riverside Mobile Home Park, shared his concerns about hazards at the park.
Cats and fleas, fencing and signage and speed bumps were some of the concerns Ricker shared.
“I have to watch my dog because of fleas and those cats,” Ricker said. “I have seen feral cats about three trailers from me, and they have fleas.”
The main thing that the city can do is pursue code enforcement at the mobile park, Green said.
“We can put a group together within the city and go down there and identify any code violation of development code or a nuisance violation that are occurring,” Green said. The city has done this to pieces of the park before but not the entire park.
Green will talk to the mobile park manager, Chris Fox, and come up with plans to address this issue to present at the next meeting.
• The city council approved Green to work on the property line adjustment for Third Street with Grant County. The city will accept land on Third Street, which would be donated from the county. This adjustment will make it easier for three property owners to connect with the city sewer system.