Morenci parking lot project update 03.23.2011

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Morenci city council approved several weeks ago a preliminary design for the parking lot rebuilding project, but a few items have yet to be decided.

Engineers are zeroing in on the final details, mayor Keith Pennington told council members at the March 14 meeting but there are still some decisions to make.

Pennington said the city could buy its own street lights for the parking lot, like it did with the Main Street project, rather than rely on lights hanging from utility poles. Pennington said he would like to explore the costs.

Another thing to consider, he said, is the installation of an irrigation system in the “green areas” of the parking lot. That, also, was done along Main Street to water the hanging baskets supplied by the Morenci Garden Club. In this case, the mayor said, it would address some maintenance concerns with the green spaces.

The green areas containing shrubs and other plantings are still opposed by some residents. Pennington recently met with the Downtown Development Authority and was told the structures will take up parking spaces.

“That’s correct to some extent,” Pennington said, “but the green space helps control traffic.”

Engineers added the green areas for aesthetic purposes and also to prevent people from driving across the width of the parking lot instead of using entrances and exits.

Pennington said he was told by one person that concrete planters are not needed at all. He also heard a suggestion that all of the proposed curbing should be eliminated from the plans to help with snow removal.

The mayor also heard opposition to the proposed closure of a short, private alley on the north side of city hall.

Ketan Patel, who hopes to open a Subway restaurant downtown, was at the meeting and asked if the proposed location of the trash receptacles could be moved into the alley location.

Patel noticed from the parking lot design that his staff would have to walk 20 parking spaces to reach the Dumpster. He expects that his business would have a larger volume of trash than most other stores in the area.

“We looked at several locations and tried to accommodate several businesses,” Pennington said.

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