Some traders fear attracting the homeless, reducing parking
The Ardmore Beautification Council will soon be partnering with the Ardmore Main Street Authority to redo the parking lot at 215 W. Main Street. The new plans will include 40 parking spaces as well as greenery, landscaping and public art. The overall project is expected to cost around $ 500,000 and will begin early next year.
Julie Maher, executive director of the Ardmore Beautification Council, said the parking lot is owned by the Ardmore Main Street Authority. For several years, ABC kept the land going until AMSA informed them of the plans they had to improve it.
“We maintained it for a long time, but several years ago the Main Street Authority took it from us and said they intended to do it again themselves,” Maher said. “These plans failed, and since then they haven’t really been kept. A few years ago the town of Ardmore with the approval of Main Street came in and cleaned it up, but it still is. a horror to the eyes. “
She said ABC believes the improvements will benefit both downtown and the city as a whole.
“Our motto is that a great city is a good deal, and we think it’s going to be a great improvement for Ardmore,” said Maher. “With Central Park at one end of Main Street and Depot Park soon to be completed at the other end, we think it will be a beautiful oasis in the middle.”
While it seems like everyone agrees that the space needs to be renovated and improved to become a more attractive space, some local merchants are concerned that the proposed changes will harm green spaces and rest areas becoming a attractive space for the homeless. .
Aylisa Marion, owner of Concrete Perceptions located just across the street, said she has seen what some homeless people do when there is greenery available.
“I’m not against the changes, and I think it needs to be done again, but I have a few questions about their ideas,” she said. “Not many people see what I see from my window. The parking lot had these little short shrubs out front, and the problem with that was that I could look out my window and see people crouching in the bushes using the room. Even now there are people sleeping in the alley behind the parking lot, and an open space there will only encourage that. “
Ruth Hilliar, owner of the Texoma Trading Post located next to the land, said she was also concerned about the homeless issue, but also the loss of parking space caused by the overhaul.
“Downtown parking is already a problem at times, and with this overhaul it is going to lose parking space,” said Hilliar. “We have a lot of our customers who come with big trucks and dualies (pickups with dual rear wheels) and I’m not sure if they’ll be able to park in what appear to be smaller spaces. I think they will also have a hard time making such a tight turn to enter the field. “
The two owners also expressed concern over the original plans that were submitted to the Ardmore Historic Preservation Board, which said the project was scheduled to start in November and last until April, as that period would include the peak purchasing season of the Holidays. However, Maher said construction would not begin until after the first of the year.
“When I made these plans, I didn’t know how long the planning, tendering and pre-construction would take,” Maher said. “Nothing will start until the first of the year, and we’re going to have all of our ducks in a row to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible.”
Maher also responded to concerns that the new batch will have spaces too small to accommodate larger vehicles.
“Everything will be done according to the standards of what the city wants us to do,” she said. “Right now the gentleman who designed it has put in the parking space dimensions that are standard. If the town of Ardmore wants larger spaces, that will be discussed when we go to town. from Ardmore with the permits. “
She also addressed concerns about the homeless.
“There are several things that we as the Ardmore Beautification Council cannot mitigate, such as the situation of the homeless,” Maher said. “Our mission is to improve this property to make it beautiful, and we can’t help it if people abuse the parking lot. If there is a problem, people should contact the police to resolve it. the homeless is already here, and it’s going to be here. “