BY SARAH R. GREGORY
The cost of leased spaces in three downtown lots administered by the Greeneville Parking Authority will increase effective Jan. 1.
Parking Authority members voted unanimously on Friday to increase the cost of leased spaces for two parking lots on Summer Street and one on Depot Street.
The measure was undertaken to address deficits currently experienced on a monthly basis.
The Parking Authority leases property for the Depot Street parking lot, across from the James H. Quillen Federal Courthouse, from Greeneville Federal Bank at a cost of $1,200 per month.
That lot contains 26 free, two-hour parking spaces, and a number of reserved spaces that currently cost $21 per month to lease.
However, revenue generated from the leased spaces in the lot total only $861 per month, Parking Enforcement Officer Michael Snapp told the board.
This results in a monthly deficit of $339, which totals $4,068 per year.
Snapp said that of the 41 available spaces in the lot, approximately 15 to 19 are not leased.
If they were, he said, revenue would "roughly break even" with the amount the Parking Authority pays to lease the property.
The majority of the spaces leased in that lot are utilized by individuals associated with the federal courthouse and the nearby Greeneville City Schools' Kathryn W. Leonard Administrative Offices, Snapp reported.
Action by the Parking Authority will increase the cost of leased spaces in that lot from $21 to $22, effective Jan. 1.
Also increased by $1 are leased spaces in what is referred to as the "Susong" lot on West Summer Street, across from The Greeneville Sun offices.
Spaces in that lot are currently leased for $25 per month. Effective Jan. 1, the cost to lease spaces in that lot will be $26.
That lot is considered "prime parking," Snapp said, noting that all of its spaces are currently leased.
Another parking lot on Summer Street will see a $3 increase for leased parking spaces.
That lot, referred to as the "Snapp" lot, is located adjacent to parking for the Greene County Sheriff's Department and Greene County Detention Center, across the street from Asbury United Methodist Church.
That lot includes 66 total parking spaces, of which approximately 8 to 10 are vacant, Snapp said.
It is primarily utilized by attorneys, he added.
At the present time, the cost to lease spaces in the Snapp lot is $15 per month.
Action by the board Friday will raise that amount to $18, effective Jan. 1.
Board members also discussed handicapped accessibility behind Andrew Johnson Bank in a lot off Church St., and issues with overgrown landscaping in the Snapp lot, on Summer St.
Snapp told the board that Andrew Johnson Bank recently constructed a new handicapped-accessible wheelchair ramp at the rear of the building, entering a lot that contains free parking spaces.
At the present time, a parking space is located at the end of that ramp, preventing wheelchairs from being able to access it when a vehicle is utilizing the space, Snapp said.
After a few minutes of discussion, board members decided to paint stripes across the space to effectively block it to allow wheelchairs access to the ramp.
The vote was unanimous with board member Doug DeBusk abstaining, as he is an employee of the bank.
Board members briefly discussed overgrown landscaping in islands located in the Snapp parking lot on Summer Street.
In the past, board chairman Tim Teague said, the Town's Parks and Recreation Department has maintained the green spaces by mowing and weed trimming as necessary.
However, in recent months, the department has not continued to maintain the green areas.
Board members asked City Administrator Todd Smith to discuss the possibility of having the Parks and Recreation Department continue to maintain the areas.
Smith said he would discuss the topic with Parks and Recreation Director Butch Patterson and return to the Parking Authority with an answer about whether such an arrangement could be reinstated.