WARSAW – Concerns over the anticipated lack of parking for homeowners near a community football field along Market Street were voiced Thursday night at a public meeting.
Phase two of the East Market Street reconstruction project is set to begin Monday, March 11, and the design will mirror the first phase in every way, according to City Planner Jeremy Skinner.
That means the design from Hickory to Bronson streets will include identical decorative street lights and a bike path along the south side of the street. But it also means on-street parking will be limited to the south side of the road. Parking along the north side will be eliminated.
That change is especially troubling for Ken and Jamie Archer, who live close to Fribley Football Field. They say that while they support youth football, they believe the future configuration will result in a loss of convenience for themselves and make matters much worse when youth football fans converge at the field on the south side of their street.
They’d like to see the city tackle the problem.
“There’s going to be a parking issue come this fall,” predicted Ken Archer.
“It’s going to be a really bad situation where we’re trying to come and go and everybody from football … is taking up every bit of parking and we can’t park there,” Jamie Archer added.
The Archers made their feelings heard during a public meeting to update Market Street residents about the upcoming eight-month construction project.
Skinner, who fielded questions at the meeting, told the Archers for the sake of streamlining the road’s path it was designed with parking on just the south side.
“I understand what you’re saying, but I have to look at the entire stretch,” Skinner said.
The Archers contend parking has become even more of a premium in recent years during football games and they think the city should try to do something. While flooding is a concern with land to the east of the football fields, they think the city should consider purchasing a vacant lot on the north side of Market to provide for parking.
The football field is adjacent to Richardson DuBois Park to the west.
Skinner acknowledged that there might be some parking options they could look at and that the parks department and leaders of the football league should work with the city to improve the situation.
Others in the crowd of about 40 or so people assembled in City Hall’s council chambers voiced concern about the intensity of street lights used in the first phase.
Skinner said the bright whiteness of the lights are due to the use of high pressure sodium bulbs and that the traditional yellowish lights that some prefer are no longer available because the industry has transitioned.
Some said they worry the lights will be too noticeable from within their homes. But one resident, Lance Grubbs, defended the new lighting, saying it will improve public safety.
City officials outlined the construction schedule in three phases.
Construction will begin from Hickory to Tamarack Street and should wrap up by May 1, weather permitting, Skinner said.
The second phase will be from Tamarack to Scott Street and is tentatively set to be from early May to mid July.
The third phase will be from Scott to Bronson Street and should wrap up by mid-October.
During each phase, traffic will be limited to local traffic within the construction zone. Barricades will be used to deter through traffic. “To keep everyone safe, it’s best that we acknowledge those signs and stay out of the construction area if you don’t live in that area,” Skinner said.
Skinner also warned that construction could face delays, either from wet weather or unknown complications.
The road surface will be milled and not totally reconstructed. “For the most part, the access throughout should be fairly decent,” Skinner said.
Garbage and recycling will not be affected, but if there are short-term changes, affected residents will receive a notice hung on their door knobs, said Terri Keim, administrative assistant with the street department.
Fire Chief Mike Wilson said they will monitor road conditions during the project and will be in communication with Lutheran EMS about any complications.
Asked about the loss of trees as a result of the project, Skinner said the city will likely hold a meeting after the project is complete and will begin a tree replacement effort.
Skinner compared the project to work two years ago on Husky Trail and asked residents for their patience.
“It’s going to be a challenge. The end result will be great, but it’s going to take a little time to get there,” he said.