BID member suggests parking changes

By ALEX ZANK - Daily News

Aug. 21, 2015

WEST BEND - A few blocks of parking in the downtown area could see changes down the road.

At a Business Improvement District Strategic Planning Committee meeting Thursday, Mike Husar of Husar’s House of Fine Diamonds said he plans to bring forth a proposal to change the parking rules on Sixth Avenue in an effort to dedicate more customer-only spaces.

The stretch of Sixth Avenue from Elm to Walnut streets is currently split between unrestricted parking, also known as Tier 2, on the west side of the street, and on the east is Tier 1, or customer-only, parking.

Capt. Tim Dehring with the West Bend Police Department said commuter vehicles — or the cars owned by people who work at businesses in the area — are not supposed to park in these spaces zoned as customers only.

Dehring said from Walnut to Chestnut streets the parking is unrestricted on both sides. Husar would like to see a return to what he called the “original parking ordinance” on the street.

Dehring said the parking rules on Sixth Avenue were changed from strictly the Tier 1, or the customer-only parking, to this east-west split more than a decade ago. He said downtown businesses wanted the change.

Husar, however, said this change “drove people out of the parking lots and buying permits, because they could park for free — why are they going to pay? So if we can drive people back into the lot, it generates revenue.”

There are two parking lots in the downtown area that require permits. One is near the post office, while the other is by Tennies Ace Hardware.

Husar added the existing ordinance exempts residents, and wants that changed as well. “They’re in the downtown area, they live in the downtown area, that’s part of the business environment,” he said.

Husar mentioned the BID could purchase a license plate scanner to help police enforce parking regulations in the downtown area.

The owner of Slesar Glass, Paul Slesar’s business is located on the corner of Sixth Avenue and Hickory Street.

Standing near the front entrance of his business Thursday afternoon, he said a change to both sides of Sixth Avenue will be good for customers, providing more parking for them.

On the other hand, Slesar said, that would mean others would have to find somewhere else to park.

He recommended adding more parking to the downtown area in general. He thought this could be achieved by purchasing nearby residential property and turning it into a parking lot. Otherwise, he thought the parking lot across the street from his business could add a second level with an access point on Seventh Avenue, which is uphill from the lot.

Slesar acknowledged either solution comes with a price tag, but said the area needs more parking.
 

Reach reporter Alex Zank at azank@conleynet.com.