Frankfort City Council Hears New Downtown Parking Proposal

Monday was the first meeting for the new Frankfort City Council. In front, from left, are Clarence Warthan, Megan Sheets and Michael Brite. In back are Mayor Chris McBarnes, Joe Palmer, Steve Beardsley, Brandt Fuller and Eric Woods. (Photo by Annie Bacon).

The Frankfort City Council heard a downtown parking proposal by Frankfort Police Chief Troy Bacon and Frankfort City Councilman Clarence Warthan Monday night.

The main parts of the proposal is to generate circulation, divide the downtown into parking zones, trim the time limit from three to two hours and hire a full-time downtown parking enforcement individual.

“We’re trying to get cars circulating more and having a little bit more accountability with doing away with all of the fraudulent parking permits that we’re seeing crop up in the downtown,” said Mayor Chris McBarnes. “We understand that we’re not going to be able to make this right with 100 percent of the people out there. But, we want to make sure we’re doing right by our merchants, our business owners and own building owners who have chosen to invest in downtown Frankfort.”

Bacon said the plan would be to divide the downtown into four different regions for parking — red for Ivy Tech parking, pink for City of Frankfort reserved lots; yellow for proposed two-hour restricted parking which means after two hours individuals must move out of the yellow zone; and blue for two-hour parking or have to move vehicle to different space or unrestricted free parking with no time limit.

Other topics of discussion included adding a 20-minute ‘quick access’ parking area, change signage in the downtown, eliminate permits due to the new license plate reader and grant authority to Chief of Police to allow for parking exemptions.

“We’re very happy with this proposal, but there’s still some work to do,” said Bacon.

This topic will be discussed in a work session following the next council meeting at 7 p.m. on Monday, January 27. The public is invited to attend.

In other news, the council and members of the Utility Service Board heard a presentation from Johnson Controls from Indianapolis on proposed energy savings for both the city and utilities.

Jennifer Payne of Johnson Controls said the project would have no tax increase, no TIF (Tax Increment Financing) funds and no rate increase. She discussed the project in five different areas — municipal utilities, buildings and facilities, vertical assets or city and street lights, municipal trash and public safety.

“This is a City of Frankfort tailored project,” said Payne.

McBarnes said this is going to be a long process.

“It certainly gives us a lot to think about,” he said. “This is just about looking at energy efficiency across the city when it comes to street lighting, when it comes to automated meter reading on the utility side to see if there is anyway we can save some money and become more efficient at what we’re doing in terms of our workplace productivity.”

The council also approved Eric Woods as the new President ProTem for the city.

“I’m very happy for Councilman Woods,” said McBarnes. “I congratulate him. I know he’s worked hard for a number of years to obtain this position. I look forward to working with him and all the council members.

The council also elected to suspend the rules and approve a temporary salary increase for Frankfort Street Superintendent Jason Forsythe, who is helping run the Frankfort Parks Department until a replacement can be found for Travis Sheets, who resigned at the end of last month.



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