2012-02-08 / Front Page

Delphi spins its wheels on parking plan

By Debbie Lowe
Staff writer

Delphi Chamber of Commerce members showed up in force to discuss a recently distributed parking plan with council members Carolyn Pearson, John Bennett and Nelson Smith at the Delphi City Council meeting Monday night. Brian Garrison and Dick Traeger were not present.

The proposed parking plan would allow all-day parking on two sides of the courthouse, in front of Delphi Hardware and Paint, in front of Dr. Robert Lucas’s dentist office and south Union St. next to the Stone House Restaurant, among other areas.

Delphi Mayor Randy Strasser told the crowded audience that when officers enforced the current ordinance, people were “chased” out to the residential areas which left many empty parking spaces in the downtown. He said that when the ordinance was enforced, the downtown looked like “a ghost town” and people were forced to walk two to three blocks to get to work. Strasser said the city decided to spot-enforce the ordinance to avoid what he considers to be those parking issues.

Chamber members disagreed with the Mayor. Lucas said he was not consulted about parking when the Mayor’s committee said they surveyed business owners in the downtown area to develop the plan. He said the plan does not indicate an accurate number of available spaces. Lucas also said the proposed plan will negatively impact roughly eight downtown businesses. He said it is his opinion that the city should promote the businesses.

Chamber president Dale Seward agreed that the city should take care of the business community. He and other chamber members urged the city to enforce the current ordinance before making changes.

Council president Carolyn Pearson read a letter submitted by Seward prior to the meeting. In the letter, the Chamber president indicated there are 203 all-day parking spaces within a block and a half of the courthouse. Seward advocated enforcement of the current ordinance. He said when officers enforce the parking ordinance, they are visible by business owners, residents and visitors on the streets, they participate in “community policing” and their presence serves as a crime deterrent.

Pearson also noted that three letters of support for the new plan were received from courthouse employees Tina Johnson and Becca Heise, as well as county clerk Andrea Miller.

The city appointed a committee which includes Delphi Chamber members Krista Watson and Tom Gray, business owner Lucas, resident Jayne Abbott and Delphi Preservation Society representative Anita Werling to meet with Delphi Police Chief John Chapman. The committee will review the proposed parking plan and develop a recommendation for parking in the downtown area. Redevelopment Commission appointees

Appointments by the Mayor and City Council were made to the recently formed Delphi Redevelopment Commission. The commission will make decisions about establishing a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District in Delphi as well as downtown revitalization. The Mayor, by State statute, appoints three members to the group and the council appoints two.

The one-year council appointees are Drew Sandora and Jerry Holsapple. Mayoral appointees for one year are Anita Werling, Joe Mayfield and Sandy Flora. Other business

The Water and Cook streets flood prevention project has been completed. The council voted to pay $33,395 for it from the Rainy Day Fund.

Strasser announced that the council will be expected to approve the city’s Hoosier Heartland Development Plan at the March meeting. He said it is overlayed with the county’s Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) district south of Delphi.

Carroll County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Laura Walls reported that the county redevelopment commission will consider the city’s plan at its February meeting. She indicated with the plan in place, the city is pre-planning for development of the intersection of US421 and the Hoosier Heartland Highway.

Strasser said the document can be made available electronically. He responded to a question by Lucas that the city has no plans to annex property south of town. He said if a company wants to be located in the area requested to be annexed into the city, he would investigate that request.

The first reading of an ordinance to establish a four-way stop at Vine and Wabash streets near the elementary school passed on first reading.

Strasser announced that the city will be required by the Indiana State Board of Accounts (SBOA) per IC 5-22 to establish a purchasing policy for all city purchases. He distributed a proposed policy to council members. Fire Chief Darrell Sterrett objected to the proposed policy for the fire department. He said the policy strips all management authority from the Delphi Tri-Township Fire Protection Territory board of directors. Sterrett recommended that the council work in conjunction with the territory board to develop a workable solution.

Sterrett reported that the fire territory hired attorney Cindy Harmon to research the restrictions on the property which is proposed to be purchased by the group. Harmon concluded that, although there are restrictive covenants attached to the deed for the land, which was formerly a gas station across the street from the city building, the restrictions will not impede the fire territory from using the land for its purposes.

A usage agreement for the city parks was approved as presented by Parks Superintendent Anita Force.

No other department reports were heard due to the length of the meeting.

The next meeting will be March 5 at 7 p.m.

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