City staff will reach out to downtown businesses

By Kellen Olshefski

Correspondent

The City of Elkhorn Public Safety Committee last week voted in favor of directing staff to begin reaching out to businesses in an effort to further investigate downtown parking concerns. This move will take place before the city engages with an urban planning consultant to further investigate the topic, if needed.

Last month, the committee voted in favor of directing staff to seek out urban planning consultants to determine what it would cost to further investigate possible options for improving parking in Elkhorn’s downtown area.

City Administrator Jim Heilman said Monday he had talked to the city’s planner about possibly doing a study on downtown parking in Elkhorn. According to Heilman, the planner told him it would be anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000 for a short synopsis, while a full study could cost in the range of $12,000 to $16,000.

Heilman said as the committee had previously discussed reaching out to downtown businesses to get their thoughts on the current parking arrangement downtown – such as consideration of a two-hour parking limit – he could certainly put together a letter at this time directed to those businesses.

“I think with the police department and public works and myself (…) we could put together from that a synopsis of what’s going on downtown, where it’s at, give you some maps,” Heilman said.

He said the same goal can be accomplished at no cost by going this route, and if more information is needed or wanted after the initial discussions with businesses, a presentation can be put together and officials can reach out to the planner.

“I think we can do a lot of the stuff in-house and give it to you first and then see if you’re happy with that, or if you want more information, then we go out and study it,” Heilman said.

He said gaining opinions on two-hour parking and how far it extends from downtown businesses could be valuable. This method would allow the city to provide that information to committee members, along with potential areas to expand parking in the downtown area and a review of specific areas that are lacking parking.

Alderman Scott McClory, in attendance at the committee meeting Monday, said he’d be in favor of approaching this from in-house rather than spending money on a study that could essentially simply tell the city it has a parking problem.

“We already know that. So, if we can do anything with our own staff in-house to at least going in the right direction, I think that would be a really wise use of our resources,” McClory said.

Committee members agreed with McClory, voting unanimously in favor of directing staff to begin reaching out downtown businesses and further investigating downtown parking in-house at this time.

 

 
 

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