Franklin Street Parking Predicament Takes to Facebook

Parking puts two forces at odds on Evansville's west side, and a lengthy Facebook post by a Franklin Street leader showcases the problem.

As business booms at some shops, a potential bust is happening across the street. Two west side groups go head to head over a parking predicament.

“It's sometimes hard to find a parking spot,” says Brian Dausman, “you have to usually walk a fairly good distance to get to where you're going.”

Franklin Street Events Association President, Amy Word-Smith scribes a scathing Facebook post, calling out the city's shut down on plans for a business.

Some on Franklin, like Lavon Sawyers at Reasonable Resale, can back that position. “The place across the street should have been able to open because it's an eyesore right now.”

The old Bud's was slated to become a bar, but the Evansville Board of Zoning Appeals said there's not enough parking. But Word-Smith's Facebook post begs to differ.

“It's a fine line,” says Brian Eickhoff.

Word-Smith says two potential investors have decided against moving to Franklin street, but there's little detail on the Facebook post, and she didn't return our phone calls.

Dausman says there will never be enough parking, and you don't need to look much farther than a couple of other Indiana cities. “Go to Bloomington, there's not enough parking, you go to West Lafayette, there's not enough parking, there's never going to be enough parking.”

Some business owners believe people will make it work, no matter where they park.

“If people want to go somewhere they'll walk,” Sawyers says, “if they want to go to that restaurant or any other restaurant on Franklin Street they'll park further down and walk a couple blocks.”

It seems there's a battle between building the brand and supporting shops. While Eickhoff says he's concerned about neighbors and overflow parking, he hopes to see the historic Evansville corridor grow.

“The more people that come down to Franklin Street will fall in love with Franklin Street.”

A member of the West Side Business Association,who did not want to be identified, says the group is working with neighbors in the area, allowing their voice to be heard on the parking and building issue.

The board member could not share details, but said survey results from 50 businesses was delivered to Mayor Winnecke two weeks ago.

The business association member says the Mayor is “working on a plan,” but did not specify what that means.

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