Parking concerns stop business venture on thriving Franklin Street

Parking concerns stop business venture on thriving Franklin Street

EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - Massive growth on Franklin Street with new businesses is causing major parking concerns for some business owners.

Others say if the rules are not followed, parking will continue to be a problem in the future.

"I grew up on the west side and I completely agree that something has to change down there, we cannot go about business as usual down there."

That comment from the Board of Zoning Appeals meeting on Thursday night, as once again, a bar and grill project slated for West Franklin street stalled out with a tie vote after a long discussion over parking problems.

The main opposition for the proposed new bar/grill during the Thursday meeting was the legal counsel for a bar/grill across the street.

Plans for the project have been tweaked several times over the past few months to accommodate for more parking, but still, the project is at a standstill.

The potential new owners requested a variance for reduced parking spots, a similar request granted to other business owners, but not this one.

Mary Jo Brugmann, the owner of Kite & Key Cafe that opened in April, says parking is a concern at times, but could be a huge problem in the future.

"Currently, I see the parking is good. But I wouldn't want it to become more congested than it is.  If it does, I think there's an overall suffrage by both commercial and residential," explains Brugmann.

"There are days I'm amazed at how much by business has an impact on the parking."

Her cafe can seat 45 people, but parking spaces are needed for employees too.

Brugmann leases out a nearby lot to account for the spaces she needs. Something more and more business owners are having to do if they want to thrive on the West Franklin Street corridor.

"They want to encourage development in this area.  So they've talked about waiving the variances on parking.  So business owners can move in without the required numbers of spots.  While I certainly don't want to hamper any growth down here, I understand that we all need each other to succeed.  The business owners look out for each other.  If they keep allowing variances for parking, I foresee very large problems in the future.  The impact to the businesses in that area and the residential area is huge."

Kelly Coures, Director of Metropolitan Development for the City of Evansville, told 14NEWS that West Franklin Street is not a designated redevelopment area based on economic viability.  That means that city cannot develop a plan to re-work the area, like the plan set forth for North Main Street.

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