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City council takes steps toward winter alternate street parking

City of Grand Marais
City of Grand Marais

The Grand Marais City Council meeting on Wednesday, July 31 was filled with conversation about parking--in summer and winter. 

The meeting started with comments from Julie Joynes Carlson and Todd Miller about downtown parking. Both noted the need for business and lodging establishments to provide parking for their customers and guests. Carlson stressed the importance of employees of downtown businesses not using the parking spaces in front of local businesses. 

The council talked at length about the proposed ordinance that would create calendar parking on the streets of Grand Marais in the winter.

The ordinance would require vehicle owners to park on the side of the street with odd house numbers on the odd days on the calendar and on the even-numbered side on even calendar days. Having all cars on one side of the street would enable the Cook County Highway Department and city road crews to remove the snow in a safer and more efficient manner.

The dates on which the ordinance would be in force was questioned, as it would not be necessary to require the alternate side parking if there was no snow. The council ultimately decided to set the ordinance dates for November 15 - April 15. The time by which cars must be moved to the alternate side was also discussed and it was finally agreed that 5 p.m. or later would be reasonable, as that is the time many people are getting home from work. 

The council moved to approve the ordinance with those date and time changes. The ordinance is not in effect yet, there must be a second reading and a second opportunity for public comment. That will take place during the city council meeting on August 14. That meeting will start at 6 p.m at city hall. 

More parking discussion followed, with the council considering the comments from Carlson and Miller, as well as the Downtown Business Coalition. [6:14] No decisions were made regarding downtown parking as it was decided more information was needed. 

Finally, another topic was discussed, the possible renovation of the city hall/liquor store building. [11:13] The council considered a proposal from McCoomb Group for an analysis of the liquor store. The cost would be $11,290. The purpose of the study would be to evaluate the market feasibility of an expanded liquor store operation. The council moved to conduct the study.

The council also reviewed a proposal from the design firm, LHB for the second time. This is a study that would incorporate the McCoomb Group's work, but would look at the overall use and space of the entire city building. The council approved that study at a cost of $34,500. 

The  city hopes to have the information from McCoomb Group by the next city council meeting and the information from LHB by October. 

The next city council meeting will be Wednesday, August 14 at 6 p.m. at Grand Marais City Hall.