SIDNEY — Two Sidney residences chosen for the 2019 Neighborhood Beautification Award were announced Monday night during the Sidney City Council meeting.
The Citizen’s Peer Review Committee unanimously chose homeowners Jason Dotson, of 629 Fulton St., and Misty Cantrell, of 735 Michigan St., to receive the award that recognizes residents for improvements to their residence.
Improvements can include renovation and rehabilitation, general cleanup, landscaping, or any other activity that improves the property and neighborhood.
Dotson and Cantrell, who were not in attendance Monday, will receive a certificate of award, an award sign to be placed in both homeowners’ yard, and a photo of their residences taken by a professional photographer, Code Enforcement Officer James Vagnone said.
New windows and siding were replaced on the outside of Dotson’s Fulton Street home; the inside was also remodeled, Vagnone said. The yard’s overgrowth was cut down and cleared away to provide a better view of the home and cleaner look outside, Vagnone’s pictures showed.
Cantrell’s Michigan Street home received a new front door, screen door, mailbox, windows, soffit, fascia, gutters, roof, shutters, French doors, pavers and landscaping. Also, new siding was installed on house and the garage.
Council gave a round of applause after Vagnone praised the homeowners for the improvements to their neighborhoods in city of Sidney.
In other business, Mark Cundiff led a discussion on no limit parking in the downtown during upcoming the holiday shopping season.
He noted many other area communities have started to temporarily eliminate time limits on parking in their downtown areas during the months of November and December to help businesses during the holiday season.
Sidney Alive has been working with city staff on the idea to present to City Council. Cundiff read a statement from Amy Breinich, Sidney Alive Executive Director, who was unable to attend Monday due to a schedule conflict, about her thoughts on the free parking downtown.
“I feel that offering the holiday parking is a great way to not only give back to our community but also a great way to test out an alternative parking situation in the downtown. I think it will promote positivity. My only concern is that employees who work downtown who take advantage of the situation and using the parking stalls that should be open to the visitors in our downtown, including their own customers/clients. …” Breinich’s email said.
She expressed, through Cundiff, her hope downtown employers will have a discussion with their employees about parking in the permit parking lots, free parking in a downtown north-end lot, or street parking not directly in front of storefronts. Cundiff shared Breinich’s concern. They both felt trying unlimited parking during the holidays would gauge alternative parking and how it may help businesses.
However, Cundiff said 24-hour parking downtown would not be able to permitted so street-sweepers and snow plows could get through. He pointed out the city of Troy has had success with free parking during the holidays in the past, which their signs posted was the city’s gift to downtown patrons.
Vice Mayor Mardie Milligan asked if downtown businesses have been consulted about the idea. Cundiff said he believes Sidney Alive has been speaking to some downtown business owners. He also noted sometimes two hour parking limits is an issue for patrons of beauty salons who need more time to receive services.
Despite, having a concern for parking to be used by business employees, Mayor Mike Barhorst and Council members Ed Hamaker and Steve Wagner suggested giving it a try to see how it goes. Wagner questioned if certain areas should be exempt from the free parking.
Council member Darryl Thurber said he wanted to go on the record as being opposed to the no limit parking downtown during the holidays. He said as the city encourages development downtown, it will cause an increase of employees needing to find parking down there. He felt the city should either have free parking downtown “all the way around” or provide business owners and employees window stickers for parking.
Cundiff responded saying as the downtown becomes more active with more people living down there, he could see a growing need for a parking garage downtown. Thurber noted that was a long term solution, not for during the holidays. Thurber pointed out walking several blocks could be a little far for employees to get to work.
Milligan was in favor of the no time limit parking during the holidays, but expressed concern for parking on West Poplar Street. Barhorst reiterated they should just try it out the free holiday parking and see how it goes, but asked council members if they realized it was not working by the end of November if it could be revoked. Council member Jenny VanMatre said she did not think it would be a good idea to revoke the free parking at that point, saying they should give it long enough to be able to see who would be clogging up the parking. Milligan said they wouldn’t know until they try it out.
The consensus of City Council was to allow the no limit parking from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31 . City staff will bring back a resolution for council to vote upon likely in October.
Council also went into an executive session to consider pending or imminent court action and the discipline and employment of a public employee. No action was taken when council members emerged from the executive session.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.