City develops parking solution

A solution to a downtown Dickinson parking concern may be closer to becoming reality after officials presented a few options at a City Commission meeting at City Hall Monday evening.

Jay Greenwood, spokesperson for Dickinson's Recycling Committee, provides the City Commission with a recycling update during a meeting at City Hall, Monday evening.

A solution to a downtown Dickinson parking concern may be closer to becoming reality after officials presented a few options at a City Commission meeting at City Hall Monday evening.

After three public hearings involving several downtown business owners concerned with a lack of parking, City Administrator Shawn Kessel presented a two-phased recommendation that if approved, could begin this summer.

But, the phases were not a solution to all.

"I really think we missed the area of concern by the people that brought it up," said City Commissioner Carson Steiner.

The first phase would provide additional parking spaces by surfacing, signing and lighting a parking lot west of a former train depot on Villard Street.


Included in the first phase would also be marked parking spots from one block west of Sims Street and one block north of the Villard and Sims streets intersection.

Also included in the first phase would be the addition of 90 minute parking, enforced from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Such an option would include the hiring of a non-licensed police staff to enforce the time limits.

Dwight Mundy, owner of Greene Drug & Gifts, said issuing parking tickets will drive business away.

Downtown parking assessments could then be used to cover associated costs. It was suggested the assessment be raised to $25,000 from the present $20,000.

"This is a parking lot assessment, it's for parking cars, not creating greenery," Mundy said.

Conflicting ideas surround a downtown park, located on the corner of Villard and Sims streets, which some suggest be used for additional parking spaces.

Phase two of the solution would involve updates to the park, including removal of planting areas to provide additional space for benches and other seating options.

"We're talking about putting in more benches and so one when I really haven't seen anyone sit at a bench there," Steiner said.


If painting parking spots works in the first phase, additional spots will be considered.

The second phase would also include surfacing, signing and lighting a space where the former City Hall building stood on Second Avenue West.

Phase two would not be implemented until success or failure was reached with phase one, Kessel said.

The City may also request the Park Board take over maintenance on the downtown park.

"I think one of the last things we do is take the park and turn it into parking," said Mayor Dennis Johnson. "If that's what it takes if we've exhausted and it doesn't work then you look at the park."

The parking solutions will be discussed at a future meeting.

"The other things that are recommended here are nice recommendations, but they only gloss over the top of the real problem," Mundy said.

In other business:


* City Commissioner Gene Jackson was appointed to join the Planning and Zoning Commission.

* New Dickinson Police Department officers Cody Beilke and Raymond Kaylor were introduced and took the Oath of Office.

* Jay Greenwood, spokesperson for the city's Recycling Committee, provided an update, emphasizing the idea of mandating composting is actually a change in the way the city collects compostable yard material.

If compostable yard waste is bagged and set out to be collected as garbage, it is sent to the landfill, not to a compost pile.

Greenwood said the suggestion includes the discontinuance of the city collecting yard clippings and instead having drop off sites throughout town.

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