Parking Problem Expected Loss of Spaces Concerns Courthouse Employees

Article excerpt

Be forewarned. The dearth of parking spaces around the St. Charles County courthouse is going to get worse before it gets better.

A common complaint among courthouse employees is that construction plans for two county government buildings and the remodeling of the historic courthouse failed to include parking spaces.

But Paul O. Schnare, a former county commissioner, disputes the notion that parking space was ignored when building plans were formulated. He acknowledges that "in the short term, there will be some inconvenience and there may be some loss of parking space; but in the long pull that won't be true."

Meanwhile, county employees are saying that the loss of parking spaces will become painfully clear next week when the courthouse and its adjacent parking spaces will be cordoned off for the remodeling project. All this week, courthouse employees are being shifted to new offices in the new Courts and Administration Building at Second and Madison streets. That building has no public parking garage or parking lot of its own.

"We now park on the blacktop by the courthouse," said Ava Logan, a jury clerk. "But as soon as we move out, the entire block will be closed off and there'll be no place to park here.

"That means that we'll have to find a place to park along the street," she said, and street-parking is limited to two hours. Also, Logan said, even the parking lots along Riverfront Drive have a two-hour limit so that parking there is impractical for officeworkers.

Logan said that she and other county employees would be glad to buy a $15-a-month parking pass for the St. Charles City Hall parking garage, "but they're sold out and there's a waiting list of almost 50 people."

Logan said that she had asked St. Charles Mayor Grace Nichols - "until we can get somebody to building a parking garage" - to lift the two-hour parking limit along city streets and at Riverside Drive parking lots.

The mayor could not be reached for comment.

Logan said, "We're worried about where jurors will park. We could have as many as 150 people a day if we have three criminal trials going. We don't know what we're going to do."

Jan London, another courthouse employee, said, "It's a mess. With attorneys and jurors, we're just overflowing. Even now, we have a terrible time finding parking. …