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Parking problem is positive, but still must be addressed

Staff Report • Mar 1, 2013 at 8:48 AM

It’s not a bad problem to have. That’s what one downtown Johnson City businessman said this week in regard to the difficulty some are having in finding a parking space in the area.

“I’ll be honest with you, it’s a good problem that parking is an issue,” Vincent Massarelli noted at Tuesday’s meeting of the Washington County Economic Development Council. “That means people are coming downtown.”

He’s right. The fact that parking is becoming a problem downtown speaks positively of the redevelopment going on in the area. Nonetheless, it is a problem that must be addressed. Truth is downtown Johnson City has long had a largely unfair reputation in some circles for being a difficult place to find convenient parking.

With more businesses, restaurants and residential developments flocking to the downtown area, parking is indeed becoming a problem that could slow the progress that is being made in the district.

That’s why the Washington County Economic Development Council is hosting a forum today to hear what area residents, business owners and community leaders think is the best way to address the parking issue. The meeting will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. on the fourth floor of the King’s Centre.

We would also like to hear what you think should be done to solve the parking problems downtown. Is a new parking garage the answer? Should the city redirect the traffic flow downtown to increase street parking? Would it be a good idea to raze more dilapidated buildings to make way for parking lots?

Sound off on this issue by sending your comments to Mailbag, P.O. Box 1717, Johnson City, TN 37605-1717, or mailbag@johnsoncitypress.com. Please include your name, telephone number and address for verification.

We will print your responses on the Opinion pages in the coming weeks.

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