Voters keep parking in downtown Lead - KOTA Territory News

Voters keep parking in downtown Lead

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A proposal to revamp downtown Lead, that included the elimination of parking spaces on Main street, has been a hot button issue for the past 18 months in the small town.

As a result of Tuesday's election, the issue is now laid to rest.

For Carla Ford, owner of Spankie's on Main street, running a bar through the winter means depending on local customers.

"Our older clientele, they won't walk very far if there's snow on the ground,"said Ford.
 
That's one reason Ford, and close to 900 other Lead voters chose to keep roughly 10 parking spaces on Main street.
 
"If you eliminate all the parking, you won't have people come into this town and stop, and the businesses that are downtown will suffer," said Mark Nevin, a resident of Lead.
 
"I know it would look nice with 14 foot sidewalks but for those 3.5 [summer] months out of the year, it doesn't make sense," said Nevin.
 
City administrators say downtown Lead will be improved, even if nothing changes with parking.
 
"Sidewalks will be improved, we'll gain some width on both sides by a small amount now. We're still look at public square, maybe relocate a library, improve parking areas to make it more inviting," said Mike Stahl, City Administrator.
 
While many who voted to remove parking declined to speak on camera, they said they appreciate the long term vision of a more open downtown. Others, disagree.
 
"Sidewalk café and things like that- people have to understand this is not the big city, this is not Rapid City, New York or Denver. Frankly I don't see anything wrong with it now," said Nevin.
 
"The downtown highway will remain our focus for next two years," said Stahl.
 
Ford says she's happy she'll at least be able to retain her customers for the foreseeable future.
 
"They don't come out a lot, maybe two or three times a week but that's what keeps our doors open, especially during the winter time," said Ford.

City administrators say they have long term plans to revitalize downtown lead with new curb and gutter, sewer lines and sidewalks.

They estimate the project could take as long as eight years.

The Department of Transportation's plan to repave the highway will begin in 2014.

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