Proposed Fort St. parking lot is welcomed by businesses

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Photo by Gabriel Goodwin
A parking lot will replace the now-vacant Westgate Appliance building stands, between Walnut and Vinewood streets.

By GABRIEL GOODWIN
Sunday Times Newspapers

WYANDOTTE — City councilors approved demolition of the vacant Westgate Appliance store, and neighboring businesses were excited about the idea of a public parking lot.

The city constructed similar public parking lots on Eureka Road and offers free parking through a special assessment district charged to the businesses in the area. The council said the new lot would operate the same way.

The previous two council meetings — June 10 and 17 — were a forum for discussing the city’s parking problems on side streets relative to Fort Street, with specific attention to Walnut.

A resolution was created June 10 requesting City Engineer Mark Kowalewski to consider restoring the “no parking” signs that once lined the street.

In his original communication to the council, Kowalewski said there wasn’t any physical evidence to prove there were ever signs after the 1950s. He shared his doubts about restoring the signs as a solution to the parking problem.

He proposed a public 14-space parking lot as a longer-term solution June 17, which was later accepted by the council.

Mayor Joseph Peterson said the lot would provide additional parking options for Walnut residents who have a number of visitors, while providing additional relief to the city and its other residents.

He said it could draw in businesses to Fort Street and allow them to flourish before the area becomes “a ghost town.”

Sandra Keathley of Cycle Connection, 2455 Fort St., said she is glad the building will be gone because it has been empty for a while.

“The sign is terrible,” she said referring to the “W” that fell off one side of the original Westgate sign. “It looks a mess.

“At one point, weeds were growing in front of the building. It is an eyesore. I’m glad to hear it will be torn down. With the parking lot in its place, the other businesses will have a place for their customers to park.”

Employees at Sportmen’s Pizza, 2425 Fort St., said they are excited for the parking lot. It is a much-needed relief to the current parking situation for the employees, customers, and residents.

Dave, who did not want to use his full name, said there are six or seven spaces being shared by three businesses — the pizzeria, a salon, and a law office.

“It will be great for the businesses out here on Fort Street.” he said. “Sometimes, people have to park at least a block away. Residents would be happy to get the cars off their streets too.”

An employee of the salon, who wanted to remain anonymous, said they were very happy about a parking lot and can’t wait for its completion because it is long overdue and their customers have been harassed by staff at the bicycle store on the Vinewood side of the strip of businesses.

She said the shop owners have put towing stickers on the window of cars parked in their lot and threaten vehicle owners who park there. The lot is hardly ever used, she said, and assumed the owners would assume more restraint.

The council addressed the parking lot next to Cycle Connection June 17 noting the lot is owned by the business and is a private lot. Peterson said because they own the lot, they can pick and choose who uses it and has the option to tow, if necessary.

(Gabriel Goodwin can be reached at ggoodwin@bewickpublications.com.)

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