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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • City has change of heart regarding event parking

  • Sometimes leaving things just the way they are is the best course of action. That’s the strategy Hannibal city officials have decided to follow in regard to parking along Brookside Drive this weekend when the YMCA of Hannibal hosts a major swimming event.
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  • Sometimes leaving things just the way they are is the best course of action. That’s the strategy Hannibal city officials have decided to follow in regard to parking along Brookside Drive this weekend when the YMCA of Hannibal hosts a major swimming event.
    “Parking will be restricted where it’s currently restricted and allowed where it’s currently allowed,” said City Manager Jeff LaGarce on Tuesday morning.
    On Friday through Sunday, Feb. 7-9, the YMCA swim team will be hosting its annual Tom and Becky Invitational. The event is expected to attract over 600 swimmers to Hannibal, according to Kara Viorel, aquatics director at the YMCA of Hannibal. She noted that the number of attendees will be even larger when the friends and family members coming to watch the swimmers are taken into account.
    With the volume of vehicles expected to fill to capacity the Y’s parking lots, the YMCA worked out parking arrangements with the school district and Park United Methodist Church to utilize their lots during the meet. To provide even more readily accessible parking the YMCA sought to have city parking restrictions lifted along nearby Brookside Drive during the swim meet.
    The YMCA’s request was not unique. The same proposal was approved by the City Council on Feb. 5, 2013. During last year’s swimming invitational bags were placed over “No Parking” signs. According to a city memo, allowing parking along Brookside created “no difficulties” during the 2013 invitational.
    When a comparable request was made of the city in anticipation of this year’s swim meet, LaGarce spoke with representatives of the Police, Fire and Street departments, who voiced no objections.
    The request went before the City Council at its Jan. 21 meeting. After a brief discussion, Council members approved allowing parking along the south side of Brookside, much of which is already signed to allow on-street parking during weekends and other times when the high school is not in session.
    The Council’s action frustrated Brookside resident Josephine McNabb.
    “I’m very upset,” she said, citing potential safety concerns because a fire truck or ambulance might not be able to navigate Brookside if parking was allowed along the street.
    After McNabb spoke with an assortment of city officials, there was a temporary change of heart at city hall, where it was decided to allow no on-street parking at all along Brookside during the upcoming swim meet. However, after further consideration, the no parking ban along Brookside was eased.
    Now, the only no parking restrictions will be in effect where Brookside narrows along a drainage ditch on its eastern end near Edgewood Road.
    Page 2 of 2 - Mayor Roy Hark, who had planned to re-address the matter during Tuesday night’s Council meet that was cancelled because of snow, said city officials recognize the economic impact the meet will have in the city. At the same time they did not want to allow parking on a narrow part of the street where parked vehicles might have prevented an ambulance or fire truck from getting through.
     
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