Holden City Council members discussed issues with a street directional change, at their regular May meeting.
Broaching the highly contentious subject of changing S. Market, between 2nd and 3rd Streets, to a two-way thoroughfare, council members heard from Market St. business owners on both sides of the issue.
Council was addressing the issue after an informal study had been completed by Mayor Doyle Weeks and Street Superintendent Ron Heinemann. They concluded there is ample space for parking if the change is made.
The subject was also discussed at the April meeting, and has raised objections from some local business owners whose parking would be affected.
Mayor Weeks presented the second reading of Bill No. 04-01-21 – Market Street Traffic Change. Present at the council meeting were several business owners.
Audie Mulanax from Holden Hair Care/Audie’s Barbershop shared his concerns with council, saying parking would be affected if the street change occurs.
Currently, the street is a one-way roadway and thus parking would be affected if the change is made.
Mulanax said that many spaces would be lost if the city went to parallel parking, and that angled parking would cause citizens to back up into the oncoming lane of traffic. Mulanax believes that adding an additional lane of traffic is not feasible.
Mayor Weeks balked at Mulanax’s reasoning, saying that there is angled parking all around downtown with the same space to park and back up and there are no issues.
The proposed measure would leave 15 parking spaces, as compared to the current number. Eighteen spaces would be lost, according to Mulanax.
There was discussion among council members regarding the number of vehicles that currently park in the area in question. It was brought up by council members that there is plenty of nearby parking.
Ashley Powell, owner of Jagged Edge Salon at 211 S. Market, was also in attendance and said that the parking affects businesses all around downtown and that older clients already have a hard time finding close and safe parking.
Mulanax continued his argument, saying that if a TIA (Traffic Impact Study) were to be done, the City would be told that they could not do this, that there is no room to back up without going into oncoming traffic.
He went on to accuse the Mayor of favoritism, since he asked Casie Gudde her opinion and she is a close friend of the Mayor’s wife, Council Member Liz Weeks.
Other business owners who were present and made their opinions heard were Sean Apple of Liberty Link, Linda Frazier of Country Creations, and Michael Anderson from Northside Assembly of God Church.
Frazier requested that the City have an engineer make a recommendation before making a decision about turning Market into a two-way street.
On the opposite side of the issue was Terry Hedglin from Central Bank.
Hedglin said he had begun counting cars parked on Market St. and reported only two to three at any given time, and the other vehicles belonged to business owners.
Hedglin said that at no time were all the spots full. He added that if the business owners would park in the city lot like the ordinance says, there would be plenty of parking.
After much heated discussion, council voted to table the issue until the June meeting.
In mayor communications, Mayor Weeks announced that the two-year MoDOT roadway and sidewalk project was complete.
“The City celebrated with a ribbon cutting that had a great turnout with many local business owners and citizens,” Mayor Weeks said.
He went on to say he wanted the public to know that this project has been in the making for about 30 years and that no one person can take credit for the project because it has been worked on by many locals for years.
Mayor Weeks added that he wanted to thank the local businesses and citizens for putting up with the long project.
Mayor Weeks moved on to a resolution for completion of MoDOT Highway Project. He read resolution no. R1-21 “A resolution of the Holden City Council expressing appreciation to the Missouri Department of Transportation and Community Leaders for the success of local infrastructure projects.”
Councilmen Ray Briscoe said that he wrote this resolution to recognize MoDOT’s efforts and agreed with the Mayor’s words, saying that everyone worked very hard to make this project happen.
Briscoe added that he also had intentions of sending the resolution to MoDOT as a thank you. Possibly, when MoDOT has more grants available in the future, they may consider Holden.
See next week’s Image for more council business and committee reports.