Randy Pennington is a member of the Washington County Board of Supervisors, and he has said more than once that he wants to challenge Abingdon’s leaders to find more parking in the downtown district now that the Washington County Courthouse is under renovation.
That’s an interesting challenge. How do you enforce it? Will the town get behind such a challenge and try to figure out a way to make parking easier for people who live and work and visit the town?
Let’s hope so.
It would be to everyone’s benefit to figure out a way to get more cars parked so the people don’t have to walk forever.
But is that a bad thing?
People love walking in little old towns like Abingdon.
But in the world of instant information, people don’t have patience like they used to years ago. They want what they want right now. And they want to park and get in and out really quick without walking.
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It can also be a headache for people who are physically challenged and need to be closer to the door of a restaurant or the government center at the Washington County Courthouse.
The supervisors have been kicking around the idea of getting a parking garage built in downtown Abingdon. That’s also something that the Abingdon Town Council has been discussing for years.
I’ve talked to several county and town leaders about this idea. A couple have mentioned trying to build something on a hillside, so that way you just drive in and drive out and don’t have to worry about driving up a bunch of ramps.
For that, folks should be studying other locations that deal with limited real estate and try to figure out how they could build something that wouldn’t look like a monstrosity.
Maybe they should study what’s been built over in Pikeville, Kentucky. I visited that wonderful community a few years ago and remember how they were able to work with limited space and still maintain an attractive downtown.
For years, the town and county officials have met with other folks to try to figure out some solutions to giving the Washington County Courthouse more space.
Why not form a similar parking committee? And maybe look at all kinds of different ideas that might be radical but in the long run could serve everyone better?
Years ago, I was associated with the Holston Mountain Artisans. I even helped a couple of members move out of the old Cave House and into the old police station down at the bottom of the hill.
It’s a beautiful location down there. Or, rather, it’s a beautiful building, but is it really in a good location?
Well, it’s certainly not going to get the foot traffic that the old Cave House did for years and years and years, when people were coming to buy arts and crafts.
It’s a radical idea. But why not find a new location for that organization that is prominent in the town? Help them survive.
Then, in exchange for helping them move and finding a new location, get down there to the bottom of the hill and knock down that building and knock down that old nasty jail and build a parking garage to solve the parking problems in downtown Abingdon.
That’s just one idea. It’s radical, perhaps. It’s multifaceted. But it would give the new courthouse that’s going to be constructed lots of new parking spaces and also keep the parking garage basically out of the view of the Main Street area that is so well loved.