BERLIN – While the need for more parking remains an issue in Berlin, elected officials are hoping a new subcommittee can help find a solution.
On Monday, the Berlin Town Council met in closed session to discuss the purchase of property for public parking. Following the closed session, Mayor Zack Tyndall confirmed that a smaller group would be looking at acquiring property going forward.
“The Mayor and Council are committed to continuing negotiations regarding the potential acquisition or lease of a parcel of property near the downtown business district to address parking concerns,” Tyndall said. “A negotiation committee has been formed which includes Mayor Tyndall, Councilmembers (Jay) Knerr and (Steve) Green, Town Administrator (Mary) Bohlen and Town Attorney (David) Gaskill.”
The lack of parking in Berlin has long been a complaint among visitors and residents. It was even highlighted as one of the town’s challenges during a strategic plan community input session this week.
“One of the big issues we’ve been hearing forever is parking,” resident Jim Meckley said.
Residents Glenn and Cindy Davis said they thought the time had come to consider having people pay for parking, at least in the areas frequented by out-of-town visitors.
“If you’re local, you know where to park,” Cindy Davis said. “I don’t think paid parking is going to stop anybody from coming.”
Merchants were informed this week that there was in fact already potential for the lot between World of Toys and Sterling Tavern to become a paid parking lot. Property owner Jay Bergey said he’d informed the town that the lot needed to be paved to address pot holes and improve the surface.
“The lot is older than the hills,” he said. “I don’t think it’s been paved since probably the 1970s or 1980s. It’s way past time to fix it.”
Bergey said the parking lot was falling apart and had become a safety concern.
“It’s wearing out because it’s getting so much use,” he said.
Decades ago, the lot provided parking for the Acme across the street. Now it’s used by the general public.
“The lot goes with that building,” Bergey said. “We’ve just let anybody park there.”
Bergey is hoping the town will cover the cost of paving. If it doesn’t, he indicated paid parking would need to be implemented there.
“I’ve got to pay for it somehow,” he said.