BERLIN – Elected officials acknowledged the town’s parking issues this week and are expected to meet in closed session regarding a potential solution in early 2024.
On Monday, members of the town council agreed that parking problems continued in Berlin and said they wanted to find a solution.
Councilman Jay Knerr said a possible solution had been presented and could be discussed in a closed session meeting.
“There is an opportunity to lease some parking that I talked to you previously Mr. Mayor,” he said. “That opportunity still exists.”
At the end of Monday’s meeting, Knerr said the town had a severe parking problem that he felt the council should try to address. He said that even when events aren’t happening visitors can’t find parking in town.
“I was up there Saturday, we didn’t have an event going on but people were driving in circles,” he said. “I think we need to have a conversation about how we could provide additional parking, whether we purchase property, lease property, wherever that discussion takes us, we need to have it.”
He said there was a leasing opportunity that would provide 100 to 150 spaces.
Mayor Zack Tyndall said that officials could discuss a specific opportunity in closed session if it was formally presented.
“It can’t just be brought out of left field,” he said.
Councilman Steve Green echoed Knerr’s frustration with the parking situation.
“I feel like our parking dearth is creating a cap for our businesses,” he said. “If you talk to them, this hasn’t been the best year with the weather and the cancellation of events. I think it’s incumbent upon us to hear concerns and try to address them. If we know that parking is a major problem in the Town of Berlin, which it is, providing some sort of other options would be a great idea.”
He added that merchants and employees who parked on Main Street and prime spots in nearby streets were contributing to the problem.
“That is not helping,” he said.
Green said it was time for the council to do what it could to improve the parking situation. He noted that a similar proposal was brought forward a few years ago and wasn’t approved but pointed out the makeup of the council had changed since then.
Tyndall, who was on the council then, said he’d voted against it because there wasn’t a way to fund it.
“If there is an appetite to do this then there needs to be a way to fund it. It can’t just be on the citizens with a tax increase …,” he said. “We’ve got to have a clear pathway to paying for it, which was what was missing before.”
Berlin officials are expected to discuss the issue again early next year.