City to collect parking fees

On most weekdays a large section of the parking lot at Indian Acres Park boat ramp is filled with vehicles belonging to Marietta Memorial Hospital workers and student interns. Beginning next month Marietta officials expect to begin collecting monthly rent from the hospital for those spaces.

“We’re growing extensively, and have been using that area for parking, mostly for students and construction workers. We shuttle them back and forth to help keep parking spaces open for patients and other employees at the main hospital lots,” said Jennifer Offenberger, director of marketing for the Memorial Health System.

She said hospital and city officials have been talking about use of the lot and the city is sending the hospital a formal contract for monthly rental of the spaces.

“We expect to have the lease arrangement in place by May,” Offenberger added.

In November Marietta City Council adopted legislation creating a total of 288 spaces available for monthly leasing in four city-owned parking lots, including 30 spaces at Indian Acres which the hospital has agreed to lease, according to Marietta Councilman Harley Noland, D-at large, who chairs the lands, buildings and parks committee.

Revenue from the parking space rentals will be used for lot maintenance and to pay for a part-time city parking enforcement officer.

“At $25 per space, that would generate $750 a month for the city,” he said. “And we set those spaces aside in legislation that was passed several months ago. The leased spaces would be on the east end of the lot, but right now the hospital employees are parking anywhere. And some spaces on the lower portion of the lot were designed extra-long for boaters to park their vehicles and trailers at the boat ramp.”

With the advent of warmer weather more boaters will be making use of the boat ramp parking lot, and Marietta safety-service director Jonathan Hupp said he’s had a couple of phone calls from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Watercraft Division about keeping the boat and trailer spaces open.

“They were calling on behalf of boaters who use the boat ramp,” he said, noting that some state funding was used to help build the boat ramp at Indian Acres many years ago.

Hupp said the monthly rental spaces in the lot have to be striped and signage installed before the city can lease the parking slots to the hospital.

“I had a meeting last week with some hospital officials who said the hospital is still interested in leasing the parking spaces,” he said. “I would like to have that lease in place by May 1.”

Hupp added that the city also plans to hire a parking enforcement officer next month.

“The officer will work 29 hours a week, and city police will provide enforcement between his shifts,” he said.

City police officers are currently providing parking enforcement for city lots and on-street parking.