City Council Drafting Parking Proposal for Downtown

Published 06/26 2014 05:31PM

Updated 06/26 2014 06:30PM

An ordinance is in the works that aims to make downtown Evansville more business-friendly when it comes to parking.

Under the current ordinance, new business must show the Area Plan Commission whether they have adequate parking. However, under the proposed ordinance, if a business wants to locate in a specific area downtown, that requirement will be lifted, according to City Council President John Friend.

Councilman Friend believes this is a prudent move before the business boom really happens downtown.

One of downtown's newest businesses is Swift Athletics. It wasn't the first nor will it be the last. Moving in on Main St. was more about moving forward, according to Tristan Mannix, the store manager.

"We decided that downtown would be a good area for us because more people run down here than our previous location on Weinbach Avenue," Mannix said. "It's the newer, cooler, hipper area. We want to be right in the heart of where everything is going on."

The shop is barely four weeks old. Like any business, owners had to submit plans before the Area Plan Commission. Showing available parking is typically part of those plans but City Council President John Friend wants to change that.

"If you're going to go in this area [downtown], there will not be any parking restrictions," Friend said. "I don't mean how long you can park out front. I mean, I don't have to show that I have 12 parking spots."

By eliminating this red tape, Councilman Friend hopes it creates a different kind of tape, the ribbon cutting kind.

"Downtown is the big focus, isn't it? Let's get rid of the red tape we possibly can," Friend said. "We don't want to throw the baby out with the bath water. If we get into this and we find out there is some unintended consequences the council will be all ears."

Councilman Friend said the proposed ordinance will be submitted next week.

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