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City can afford to fix parking lot, improve safety

People of all ages, abilities and disabilities are forced on a daily basis to cope with the potholed and gravely parking lot at 304 Putnam St. serving our Marietta City Health Department and Marietta Water Department.

A 77-year-old woman in stocking feet recently struggled across the parking lot to get to the health department for an immunization. A pregnant woman nearly fell on gravel. These are not incidental incidents. These are regular occurrences.

The 304 Putnam St. has needed repairs for at least the past three years. The city recently received a comprehensive analysis of the building’s needed improvements to be handicapped accessible, as required by law.

The Pickering & Associate’s analysis estimated costs of properly repaving the parking lot including improvements for those with mobilities issues at about $20,800. City Engineer Joe Tucker estimated design would cost about $6,000.

The city has spent about $1.2 million on overdue renovations (roof, heat, air conditioning and wall, floor and ceiling repairs) in the building, which also houses development, recreation, engineering, and council clerk).

The city has more than $153,000 available in the parking lot fund which may only be used for parking lot repair and maintenance. This money is generated by fees paid by those who rent public parking spaces from the city. The rental fees were created specifically to generate money to pay for taking care of public parking lots. Lots at the time were largely disintegrating.

Since establishment of the fund, repairs have been made at Indian Acres, Aquatic Center, Putnam Bridge lot, Becky Thatcher parking lot and several others.

No city lot used on a daily basis by Marietta residents and water customers is in more poor condition than the 304 Putnam St. lot (across from City Hall).

The city has the money today to make these critical repairs. What it apparently lacks is the fortitude, planning ability and desire to do the right thing for public safety. Our residents and users of city services deserve better. They deserve a safe parking lot and access to city services, especially the health department.

This not rocket science. This is about providing the most basic city services using money ready and available specifically for parking lot repair.

Roger G. Kalter

Marietta City Council

Lands, Buildings and Parks Committee Chair

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