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Parking woes, solutions up for debate in Shepherdstown

July 07, 2005|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - Depending on the time of year, parking can be a pain in Shepherdstown.

When Shepherd University is not in session, things are manageable.

When students come back, it's another situation, the town's mayor said.

Students mix with other visitors in the search for downtown parking spaces, and there is not enough to go around.

Tonight, town residents will get to give their input on the issue.

During a town meeting at 7:30 p.m. at the Shepherdstown Men's Club, residents will get to comment on a set of recommendations from a parking task force, Mayor Peter Wilson said.

Wilson said he expects a lively meeting and stresses that none of the ideas are set in stone.

"We'll run it up the flagpole and see what makes sense," Wilson said.

Although there is plenty of parking for Shepherd University students on the west campus, many students tend to park in the downtown area, Wilson said.

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Besides the problem of students parking at metered spaces in the downtown area, they also park in residential areas, Wilson said.

Homeowners then request signs be placed by their homes designating the parking as being residential spaces only, Wilson said.

"You end up with a whole lot of signs in town," Wilson said.

One of the proposals from the parking task force is to increase the cost of parking meters downtown, which would hopefully discourage students from parking there and instead park on the west campus, Wilson said.

Another proposal is to have nonmetered areas as residential parking only, Wilson said.

A downtown business owner said she is glad the issue is being discussed, but said none of the proposed solutions are ready for implementation.

Under the recommendations, people who work downtown would have to pay $30 per month for a permit to park downtown, said Pam Berry, part-owner of the Shepherdstown Sweet Shop Bakery

That is expensive considering what some workers are paid downtown, said Berry, who was on the parking task force.

A Shepherd University official said he has no concerns with the task force's recommendations.

"We want to do what we can," said Ed Magee, vice president for administration and finance at Shepherd.

Ultimately, Shepherd plans to build a parking garage on the west campus to create more parking for students, Magee said.

Magee said he thinks parking on the west campus will become more attractive to students as they grow increasingly frustrated over the shortage of parking downtown.

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