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County worried about parking

By Staff | Jan 6, 2014

Parking at the courthouse was a topic of discussion with the Faribault County Commissioners at their last meeting of the year.

City of Blue Earth administrator Kathy Bailey and city engineer Wes Brown were present at the meeting to discuss some road improvements this spring which would affect the county courthouse.

Brown explained how the city plans to work on Second Street, from Holland to Gorman, which means a portion of the road work will take place on the north side of the courthouse.

The street is currently at 52 feet across and allows angle parking for the courthouse on both sides of the street.

“If we wanted to keep it that way, we’d have to widen the street to 62 feet,”?Brown explains.

However, widening the street to keep the specs of the project in line would affect land owners on the opposite side.

“If we keep it at 52 feet it would work to have parallel parking on one side of the street and angle parking on the other,”?Brown adds.

If this option is followed through, the commissioners feared it would cut down the parking too much.

“There is already a shortage of parking here,”?commissioner Tom Loveall says.

Brown agrees it would reduce the parking from the current 37 spaces to 27 spaces with the new layout.

The commissioners questioned whether or not there were other options to be explored, and what the likelihood would be for the street to return to it’s current set up.

“It was not recommended that we put it back to the way it currently is after the improvements are made,” Brown says.

“This facility needs parking,” Loveall adds.

Commissioner Greg Young suggested the chair and vice-chair of the County Board sit down to discuss their options and have a conversation with the city of Blue Earth as planning for the project continues.

The discussion of road work along Second Street brought up other concerns for county employees as well.

The north side of the courthouse is where the handicap accessible parking is and where the Prairieland Express Transit buses turn around.

“That handicap accessibility is going to be a major issue,” Dawn Fellows of central services office says.

They were especially concerned if the road would be under construction all summer.

“We would have to do it in phases, so it’s not sitting open the whole time,”?Brown agrees.