Parking regulations in downtown Warsaw are changing. A vote by the Warsaw Common Council last night means that while much of the downtown will remain at 2-hour limits, free parking spaces have also been made available.
On the diagram, areas marked in purple will be converted to free unlimited parking. Those areas in blue will be newly created spaces that would include approximately 9 spaces in the 2-hour zone and about 29 spaces in the free unlimited zone. City Planner Jeremy Skinner said the exact number of those spaces will not be known until striping begins. “It’s as many as we can get,” he explained.
In all, 54 spaces are being converted from the 2-hour limit to free/unlimited parking.
Since the first public reading of the plan during the council’s July 1 meeting, Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer said they have received a few requests to re-examine areas and make changes. Among those requests was one by Tower Bank, located at the corner of Buffalo and Main streets, seeking to have the angled parking on the north side of their building remain in the 2-hour zone because those spaces are intended for its customers. The Kosciusko County Historical Society has also asked for 2-hour parking to remain in front of the Old Jail Museum to accommodate visitors instead of being converted to free/unlimited.
Skinner said he agreed with Tower Bank’s requests because when they built downtown they included the angled spacing for their customers. But Skinner did not feel the plan for Indiana Street near the Old Jail Museum should change. Councilman Jerry Frush, who is also a member of the historical society, however, noted, “We’ve been open 51 days this year and we’ve had 410 guests.”
As discussions continued, councilman Charlie Smith told Frush that the museum is not open every day and the figures he provided means it averages only 4 cars per day. Thallemer added, “Keep in mind we can give it time and let it settle in. On occasion it could be an inconvenience but let’s give it some time. We don’t want to water down the free parking areas too much or it defeats the purpose.”
In the absence of councilman Mike Klondaris, the council voted 5-1 to accept the parking plan. Frush was opposed. It was also noted that, while the original plan was passed, an amendment to the ordinance will be voted on at the next regular meeting to assure the angled parking at Tower Bank will remain 2-hour parking. Had the council opted to wait on the plan being re-written, the ordinance would have been delayed. It was passed last night to allow the street department to begin striping new spaces and modifying signage.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: City planner Jeremy Skinner says that, prior to the ordinance going into affect, the ordinance will need to be advertised. The process will take up to 30 days.)