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City’s parking woes continue

By Staff | Oct 15, 2010

Renee Sustarich is one of many students that commutes to Shepherd University.

“Parking is a real pain,” she said.

Sustarich bought a parking pass but has trouble finding a spot on the East Campus where most of her classes are located.

“Street meters either offer too short a term, like 90 minutes, or they are malfunctioning,” Sustarich said.

She simply resolves to leave her home early enough to allow time to walk from the West Campus.

This parking challenge is not new. Town council addresses it with parking bylaws, SU is investigating building a parking garage and local merchants are hoping a solution comes soon.

“More customers could shop here if they could find parking,” said Blue River Clothing shop owner Eric White.

April Davis of Ellsworth Music Store sympathizes with the students. She graduated from SU almost three years ago. She feels that building a parking garage would benefit both the students and the local merchants. Five hundred additional parking spaces on campus has to help alleviate the congestion along German Street and the neighboring streets.

Currently SU students park on the West Campus, cross over a highway and enter the East Campus for classes. This is a real concern for Shepherd President Suzanne Shipley.

Area government officials gathered on Oct. 4 to discuss solutions. One part of the plan is to build a safer crosswalk. They are trying to decide on the feasibility of either an above ground or underground design. The second part of the plan is to build a parking garage on the East campus.

“The shortage of parking has been a problem since I was class president here 10 years ago. With the growing population, this problem has become a top priority,” said Delegate Tiffany Lawrence of the 58th District.

West Virginia House Speaker Rick Thompson will try to expedite the state funding.

“The Oct. 4 meeting truly clarified how great the need is for this parking garage.”

Delegate John Doyle, representative for the 57th District, believes that the funding is just around the corner.

“Not only will the students and faculty of Shepherd University be well served but also the town merchants. The parking structure will be four stories high, hold 500 cars and cost approximately $10 million. Fortunately this estimate has gone down over the last few years. Prices have dropped due to the recession.”

Shipley said that “replacing the existing, dangerous crosswalk across Highway 34 is estimated to cost $3 million. Both students and drivers will be safer.”

Officials hope to secure federal funding for this project.

Lawrence added, “The Governor has already agreed the project is worthwhile. Now it’s just a question of when?”