Council Discusses Downtown Parking Issues

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3By Terry Rogers

On Monday, May 11, Kay Hudson, Librarian at Milford Free Public Library, spoke to council about parking issues the library was facing now that the city’s Customer Service Department was located in the old PNC Bank building. According to City Manager, Hans Medlarz, PNC Bank had entered into an agreement with the library to share a parking lot on one of the three parcels owned by the bank.

“An amendment to the agreement was signed in July 2010,” Mr. Medlarz explained. “The city purchased the building and the parcel in question in 2013. Since that time, the library has allowed the lease to lapse by not following the extension steps as outlined in the license agreement. Ms. Hudson requested consideration of ten marked spaces in the yet to be constructed parking lot on South Washington Street.” Ms. Hudson spoke to council, explaining that she had not requested any additional parking space.

According to Ms. Hudson, when the city purchased the building, they were of the understanding that there was no longer an agreement, but that she had discussed with former City Manager, Richard Carmean, that the library would notify the city when there were events planned at the library that may require additional parking spaces, so that city employees could park elsewhere on those days.

“The library is the foundation of downtown Milford,” Ms. Hudson explained. “If people cannot park, they will not be in downtown. Mr. Medlarz suggested using spaces in the Salvation Army parking lot so that those who want to visit the library must walk a considerable distance in a neighborhood that may not be safe and that is not acceptable. We have several large events planned in July that will bring more than 200 people to downtown Milford and we need to address our parking problem.”

Councilman Chris Mergner said that council needed to address that there were not enough parking areas in downtown Milford and that the library’s issue was part of a much larger problem.

“I love to get coffee at Dolce,” Mr. Mergner said. “But, too many times, I ride down Walnut Street and there is no place to park, so I don’t go there. I want to support downtown businesses, but without parking, I can’t do that.” Mr. Medlarz explained that there were only eight or nine employees in the Customer Service building each day and that he would suggest to them that they park in city lots. Councilwoman Wilson said that although she wanted to work with the library, she did not want to inconvenience city staff either.

“It sounds to me like this is simply a communication thing,” Councilman Garrett Grier said. “Ms. Hudson just wants to call over and let us know when there is a big meeting. She can call and talk to Hans.” Council suggested that Mr. Medlarz and Ms. Hudson work together to be sure there is parking for library visitors and city staff.

Mayor Bryan Shupe said that parking downtown is something that could be addressed with the downtown master plan that was being created by Arnett Muldrow & Associates, who were approved by council to create a Downtown Milford Master Plan. The company will develop a strategic plan for downtown Milford at the  cost of $27,250 with $24,000 of the cost covered by a grant from the Delaware Economic Development Office.

“This is a bigger problem than just library parking,” Mayor Shupe said.

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