By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Officials discuss downtown parking
downtown handicap parking1.jpg
Parking on Main Street can sometimes be bumper to bumper. McMinnville officials are giving consideration to designated handicap parking along the street. - photo by Lisa Hobbs

McMinnville officials have ordered a review of downtown parking spaces, after complaints that there are none designated for handicap individuals along Main Street. 

“I’ve fielded some calls and had some left on the mayor’s voicemail just saying that there are no dedicated handicap parking spots,” said Mayor Ryle Chastain, to members of the city Streets and Sanitation Committee.

Visitors with a handicap placard issued in Tennessee may use it to park for an unlimited amount of time, regardless if there is a time restriction. 

Chastain stated he was unaware of that law, “It was unbeknownst to me at the time that if you have a handicap parking tag you can park anywhere downtown and not receive a ticket no matter how long you’re parked there. That may provide a resolution. It still doesn’t, necessarily, get you close, but you can park anywhere downtown and not have to worry about the 10-minute or the two-hour parking restrictions.”

Committee members requested a review of downtown parking spaces – how many total, how many are handicap designated and how many are designated as loading zones.

Discussion turned to the need for loading zones. Specifically, the ones in front of City Hall, Panther Creek Forestry, Stanley & Bratcher, Magness Library and the District Attorney General’s Office.

Those at City Hall are used by McMinnville Water Department customers when they drop off payments in the drop box and the one at Magness Library is used by patrons to return books in the drop off. Both were quickly eliminated as possibilities.

“The one that I can’t figure out is where Ben Myers (Panther Creek Forestry) is, which used to be Hargroves,” said Alderman Everett Brock. “I can’t see Ben Myers needing a loading zone. Truly, I don’t see any trucks at the one in front of Stanley’s. They park in front of it to unload. The spots are too small for the trucks.”

McMinnville Public Works director Frank Southard stated, “They do the same thing with the loading zone down in front of Lisa’s (Zavogiannis) office. They’ll park in front of the spot, but not in it.” 

“I’d like to see those used,” said Brock. “If not for handicap, I’d like to see those used as parking spaces.” 

Alderman Zach Sutton questioned the possibility of those two spots being hybrid – used for unloading and/ or handicap, while Alderman Rachel Kirby asked if trucks unload at specific times.

“Really, they do,” said Southard. “Normally, they’ll unload at 7 a.m. or 6:30 a.m. They are normally pretty early.”

Kirby suggested, “Could it be an unloading zone until 10 a.m.? After that, handicap parking?”

The discussion was tabled by Streets and Sanitation Committee members until they can be presented with a review of downtown parking spaces.