With an influx of people soon gathering on North Elm Street to watch home football games at Blevins Memorial Stadium, the town council agreed something needed to be done to make the area safer.
For years, people have parked their campers and other recreational vehicles along the street to tailgate and watch the games. Some would park them there at the beginning of the season and keep them there until the end, while others would just park there on game nights.
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Parking them there for the season, however, has come to an end.
The council recently had town attorney Rodney Farrow make an amendment to the traffic code ordinance stating no vehicles can be parked along the west side of North Elm Street between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday while school is in session. That would be from the intersection of Bridge and Elm streets to the intersection of Highview Drive and Elm Street.
The council approved the first reading of the ordinance and then suspended the rules to waive the second reading and proceed to the third and final one so it could go into effect now before the first home football game, which is Aug. 24. That all passed unanimously.
The street department will place signs along the street explaining the parking regulations once the posts are in.
A violation of the ordinance will result in a ticket not exceeding $100 to be issued. If it’s paid at the town hall within two days, the fine will be $25. Otherwise, it can be up to $100.
A white line recently was painted 4 feet from the curb along the west side of North Elm Street, designating that area as a walkway for pedestrians. That’s a temporary solution until funding is available to build a sidewalk.
There’s still 28 feet of the roadway for two vehicles to have plenty of room to travel to and from the area.
“It’s really for our students to stay safe,” Councilwoman Sharon Koch said.
“That is the bottom line,” Councilman Gary Drake added.
“I think we’re all trying to protect the same tradition,” Councilman Gregg Goshorn said of people parking along North Elm Street to watch football games. “No mater how much people are going to be mad at us, we’re trying to protect the tradition.”
Soon, a crosswalk will be added to give Lutheran Central School students a place to cross the street. Brownstown Central High School students who walk to and from school also could use the pedestrian walkway.
“Hopefully, when school gets out, LC students walking to the high school can use it, and some of the high school students walk home that way, so they can use that for their sidewalk,” Koch said.
Goshorn said middle school football players are given a path to safely walk to the high school, so they can use the walkway, too.
“We’re hoping it promotes more walking,” he said. “Ultimately, this is a (temporary) solution to something that really is needed, and that is a sidewalk.”
Also, on nights of home varsity football games, barricades will be placed in the area to prevent vehicles from driving through between 30 minutes before kickoff and 15 minutes after the game. The temporary closure will be from the St. Peter’s Lutheran Church access alley to the intersection with Highview Drive.