Aurora -- Mayor Ann Womer Benjamin would like to create additional parking spots in the Town Center area, so she is proposing about 40 to 50 new spaces next to the parking lot that already exists at Kiwanis Moore Playground.
She said the lot would be just south of the existing parking lot on West Pioneer Trail. Currently, there is a ballfield there. She said based on usage, that field is not needed, and an adjacent field can be used.
The project also includes upgrading a nearby field just south of the current parking lot. One field would become a parking lot, she said, and there are other fields south that still will be used.
"The field that would be paved is currently used for T-ball, but that can be moved to the field just south of it," she said, adding the new parking area is less than an acre.
Womer Benjamin said the total cost of the project would be under $100,000. That would include the parking lot and paving (about $70,000) and upgrading the field (about $9,000). The city owns the land.
The cost also would include $9,000 for the engineering and design work, which was unanimously approved by City Council as a separate item May 12.
Council voted 7-1 to place $90,000 for the rest of the project on the Council agenda. where Womer Benjamin said it likely will receive three readings. Council Vice President Denny Kovach voted against the issue.
Womer Benjamin proposed a crosswalk on Route 43 along with "a pathway from the parking lot area behind the businesses, and running through to Route 43." She said the city would build the path with its own staff and materials.
"THE PROJECT has not been formally designed yet, but we expect the path to run to the south along city-owned property from the lot behind the businesses on Route 43," she said. "We expect we'd bring the path out by Mad Jack's to Route 43."
Kovach said he can't envision "a pathway through the woods" and said he is not in favor of a crosswalk. "Those drivers are not going to pay attention to it," he claimed.
Womer Benjamin responded, "I can assure you that any crosswalk won't be installed until we are sure it meets requirements [and is safe]."
She said it is "clear that we need additional parking in the center of town."
"The whole purpose of this is to improve the public access to the businesses along Route 43 and to encourage the development or addition of new businesses," she said. "We're trying to enhance the area so people don't park in front of houses on Pioneer Trail. We're trying to use space we have available."
Womer Benjamin said the pathway would be possible because the owner of Mad Jack's Grill & Pub on Route 43 "is very interested in this project and is willing to give the city an easement to bring that pathway through to Route 43."
"We want to go ahead with the design and engineering work right away, so hopefully right after July 4 we can start working on putting the parking lot in," she said. "We don't want to do it before because of July 4 activities in that area."
Phone: 330-541-9400 ext. 4187
Twitter: Mike Lesko@MikeLesko_RPC