parking stock photo

With early voting now in full swing, several individuals driving in downtown Richmond have noticed a parking enforcement office ticketing cars along Main Street.

And some of them, are not very happy.

Heather Baxter, who was alerted by her husband of the ticketing, said she thinks it's just plain wrong.

"I don't think it is right at all to ticket people on the street who are parked and waiting in line for hours to vote at the courthouse," Baxter said.

And it seems her complaints aren't in vain, as City Manager Rob Minerich stated he has gotten mixed opinions about the resumed enforcement.

He confirmed Tuesday evening during a Commission meeting, that enforcement was starting back again on Main, Irvine and Water Street to help businesses have more parking for customers.

"It is kind of a mixed bag there," he said. "We have businesses that are encouraged by this, we have others that were a bit upset by it, so the medium is again just enforcing Main Street, Water Street, and Irvine Street," he said. "The side streets we will not enforce."

With a two hour parking limit on the spots he referenced, he stated some businesses are not happy with people staying parked longer than the allotted time.

"There is plenty of parking downtown if people are willing to walk a short distance," he told The Register.

In other business, the commissioners heard from Mason Chamblee, of the parks department, about grants he hopes to apply for to get outdoor workout equipment in the city of Richmond.

This fitness grant would provide nearly $30,000 for infrastructure and leave more than $100,000 remaining for funds to be taken care of. Chamblee said the grant often requires a city match or other sponsorships to help fund the remainder of the project.

In determining locations to place the workout equipment, Chamblee said one area he favored was Irvine McDowell Park because it is an area that needs more recreation opportunity.

The area also fits in with the requirement of the grant for locations with high traffic areas and a demographic of those in a lower socioeconomic income for households that do not have access to equipment or a gym membership.

Commissioner Jason Morgan was the first with questions to ask what the execution would look like.

Chamblee stated the workout equipment would include six stations, including rings, bars, a step box, and ab workout and other kind of free movement and exercise stations.

Additionally, the area would be ADA compliant.

"Our hope is that this becomes a stopping point or place in the neighborhoods to come and can be a resource for lower socioeconomic means to use, and gives them the means to access equipment they need," Chamblee said. "We need people outdoors and remaining active and healthy."

While presenting, Morgan questioned Chamblee if this endeavor would impede on local businesses and gyms which rely on memberships.

Chamblee stated the outdoor gym would be a way for people who don't have the means to make sure they are staying active in a pandemic, which had previously closed local gyms for health concerns.

"People can work out at dawn or dusk, before or after work," he said.

The first reading was approved unanimously by the commission.

The next Richmond City Commission will be held Oct. 27 at 6 p.m.

Reach Taylor Six at 624-6695 or follow her on Twitter at @TaylorSixRR.

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