Parking lot OK'd for Thomas Heritage Park

by Bob Gaetjens | Editor Published:

As a site plan amendment, a temporary, 14-space parking lot at Thomas Heritage Park was approved Aug. 12 by the Streetsboro Planning & Zoning Commission in a 6-0 vote.

Planning Director John Cieszkowski Jr. said the city also received approval of a variance allowing fewer parking spots than the law requires. The city parking regulations, which base the number of required parking spots on acreage, would have required about 9,000 parking spaces, he said.

Commission member Chuck Kocisko said he wants to make sure everything is done according to procedure.

"I just don't want this to bite us on the butt later on," he said. "I just want to make sure we've got our 'Is' dotted and our 'Ts' crossed."

Cieszkowski said the city is going through the proper channels, which included approval of variances allowing fewer parking spaces and permitting the city to install a temporary parking lot.

"This will be done with oversight of the city engineer from start to finish," he said.

City Council member Jeff Allen asked the commission how long the temporary lot could stay.

"As a Council man, when are we going to have to make it permanent?" he asked the commission.

Commission member Jerome Pavlick said there's no set deadline by which Council would have to approve payment for a permanent lot.

Parks & Recreation Department Crew Leader Sal Ruffo said people have been parking on a grassy area at the park.

On Aug. 9, he said "that lot was full, and I had to park on the road to get into the park."

The city plans to add to existing plans two bollards at the far end of the lot, where there's an access drive to the rest of the park, said Ruffo.

"This would allow pedestrians to go between the bollards, but prevent cars from going through," he explained.

Bollards are cement posts that will be spaced to block vehicles from accessing the park. The police and fire departments will have keys that will enable them to lower the bollards, which will be hinged at ground level, said Cieszkowski.

There also will be reflective markers preventing vehicles from parking in unloading zones adjacent the handicapped parking spaces. The area is needed because it usually takes more space to the side than a typical parking space offers to unload wheelchairs, said Cieszkowski.

The administration had proposed a 40-car parking lot at the park as part of the 2014 budget, but Council removed the project, spending the money instead at City Park.

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