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City Council discusses holiday parking and updating street lighting

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Athens City Council discussed changes to the 24-hour long-term parking rule at their meeting Monday night.

The changes would allow for storage parking during the holiday season, free parking in Athens for holiday shopping and would suspend the current rule of having to move your vehicle at least every 24 hours.

The citywide ordinance would go into effect on Monday, Dec. 15 and last through midnight on Jan. 2, 2015.

According to Mayor Paul Wiehl, this change is because of the switch to semesters at Ohio University.

“The free parking used to last sometime around Thanksgiving through New Years’, and we need to revise this,” Wiehl said.

The temporary ordinance must be discussed every year, according to city council members. This is the first time it would allow citywide free parking, not just reserved to the Athens City Parking Garage.

“Language can be worked out and brought up for reading and suspension of the rules at the Oct. 6 meeting so we can get this passed,” At-Large Rep. Christine Knisely said.

Another ordinance that will be brought up on Oct. 6 will give permission to replace the perimeter lighting in the City of Athens.

The approximate cost of the lighting improvement project is $46,700 total. The city already has $20,000 in funds from OU and $28,000 from the Athens Uptown Business Association to help with this project, which is more than enough money needed to cover all the cost, according to Knisely.

“Hopefully we can get legislation to authorize the money on this, suspend the rules and it be passed before the holidays,” Knisely said.

If passed, the lights would be LED and be plugged into the buildings and parking meter system, according to the Council.

“It’s been a while since these lights have been replaced and it’s expensive having a repair truck come out each time a light blows out to replace it,” Wiehl said.

“We are thankful to OU and the uptown businesses for making this happen,” Knisely said.

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