Marshall City Administrator Connie Latimer and Municipal Services Director Bill Anderson were special guests at the Downtown Marshall Association meeting Monday evening, March 8.
Latimer and Anderson were present to discuss a problem that has caused some tensions between downtown business owners and workers: parking. Certain individuals have complained that people are parking in front of their workplaces on the square, violating the city's two-hour parking ordinance and taking up spaces that could be available to customers throughout the day.
Another problem is the courthouse renovations, where construction crews have used some parking spaces to store equipment and materials. However, Latimer said, the parking spaces on the inside of the square belong to the county, not the city.
"I really wish that this issue could be solved by the merchants themselves," Latimer said, rather than the city getting involved.
But, she added, "We're willing to do whatever we need to do."
DMA Chair Amy Crump concurred and said, "I agree that the best solutions come from within the group."
She said that parking had already been on her list of topics to be addressed once DMA is fully formed, complete with officers and a board of directors, this July.
"That'll be the first item that we'll discuss as an organization," she said.
DMA as an organization was the other main topic of discussion at the meeting Monday evening. The group is now ready to formally introduce itself to the community and invite people to join as board members, so those present discussed plans for a "launch party" event.
"I'm hoping that our launch re-initiates interest," Crump said.
DMA will hold its "launch party" Monday, April 5, at 6 p.m. in the conference room at Marshall Public Library. There will be time for mingling and conversation, followed by brief presentations about the group's mission, plans and structure. Anyone interested is invited to attend for information and light refreshments.
Besides Crump, DMA members Josh King, Mary Ann Piper and Brian Riley were present at the meeting.