McHENRY – McHenry City Council members want to move forward with plans to make parking in the city’s downtown areas more easily accessible.
McHenry Mayor Wayne Jett has been working with city staff and businesses in the city’s downtown district to address resident complaints about the lack of parking in the area. The city now has come up with three phases of projects that would improve parking capacity, safety and visibility.
Projects include improving lighting, expanding parking lots, executing agreements with businesses to use their lots, repaving existing lots and constructing new lots.
The projects focus on three downtown areas, including on Riverside Drive, Green Street and Main Street. There are a total of 748 public parking spots in the downtown areas, including 167 in lots and 581 along the street, according to city documents.
Jett is working with McHenry High School District 156, McHenry Savings Bank and McHenry Villa to determine whether the companies would be willing to allow the public to use their lots. The city might need to pay for such access in the form of a lease agreement.
The city will move forward with the first phase of projects, but some might require budget amendments and use agreements that the council would vote on at future meetings.
Phase 2 projects would be considered for the upcoming fiscal year’s capital improvements program, according to city documents.
“With Tier 1, I think that is something we should do,” Jett said. “I think all this is doable on Tier 1, and I would like to see support on that. Tier 2 and Tier 3, there are opportunities to add parking down the road.”
If all projects at each tier are done, the city would boost downtown parking capacity by 58 percent, according to city documents.
First phase projects could cost up to $65,000 and include lighting improvements to parking spaces around Veterans Memorial Park and in the Court Street lots, as well as complete design work for the development of new spaces on South Riverside Drive and Court Street building redevelopment, according to city documents.
“Those short-term things we can do will alleviate a lot of issues,” 3rd Ward Alderman Jeffery Schaefer said. “In the short term, I think we should really look at those partnerships we had talked about.”