FULTON COUNTY, Ga — Taxpayers in Roswell will vote on three bond referendums in November. The least expensive asks for $20 million to build a new parking deck in downtown Roswell along the Canton Street corridor.
Most evenings, during the day, and especially on weekends, it can be nearly impossible for drivers to find parking at one of the paid, on-street spots. Even the two main lots charging $5-10 fill up fast.
Channel 2′s Steve Gehlbach spoke with local business owners on Friday and got their opinion on the parking situation in the area.
“Especially for out-of-towners and people from surrounding neighborhoods in North Fulton, they don’t know where to go,” said Allen Barnhart, regional manager at Lola’s Burger & Tequila Bar. He’s and many downtown business owners think a centralized parking deck that is free to the public will draw in more people and more month for the city. “All the revenue from the businesses in this area, in time, will pay for itself.”
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“Historic Roswell is a destination, there’s so much great food, great shops, people are coming here, owner of Deep Roots Wine Market & Tasting Room Dana Gurela said. She has a dedicated parking lot at her store, but it’s no longer free. “We don’t want to push those people away. We want it to be welcoming,”
But one visitor to the area Friday told Channel 2 she would be against adding a parking deck downtown.
“I think it’d be weird. I also think it would cause more traffic,” Lindsay Stark-Gonzalez said. “This is easy how it is now…needs to stay like this.”
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Ultimately it will be Roswell residents deciding, as well as paying the bill. Mayor Kurt Wilson is asking voters to say yes to the $20 million price tag. “We think it will accelerate and add more growth to that area which adds more tax dollars back into the city of Roswell,” Wilson said.
The exact location has not been chosen for a new parking deck. The city promises it will be off the main street and not a giant concrete structure, but keep with the charm and feel of the downtown corridor. Specifics of the plan and what the bond money will be used for will be laid out in detail at Roswell’s city council meeting scheduled for Aug. 22.
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