Athens City Council members met Monday to discuss leasing smart parking meters, the designation of the Stewart Macdonald Building as a local historic designation and dewatering plans for the wastewater treatment plant.
The council discussed signing a five-year contract to lease smart meters. The meters will not allow meter-feeding to prevent “free parking” for the next person. Parking staff will not be increased, but shifts will lengthen till 8 p.m. The meters are meant to increase business uptown and push people to utilize the parking garage.
Judith Roman, an Athens City resident, said she thinks the parking garage is unsafe.
“I want to feel safe when I’m parking and not have to worry about my safety when I turn the corner,” Roman said.
Roman regularly attends the meetings and thinks parking for public meetings should be free. She feels the city could benefit from an on-duty police officer stationed in the garage overnight along with better lighting.
An ordinance was also passed designating the Stewart Macdonald Building a local historic designation. Renovations of the building will create manufacturing jobs for the city.
Additionally, council members discussed authorizing design services for the wastewater treatment plant. The city is expecting an increase in sludge production due to the startup of the Academic year which could increase the volume by 25 percent.
A contractor must be hired by the City to dewater and dispose of the sludge. The project should cost between $500,000 and $1.5 million.
Members also suspended the Northwest Bikeway Spur. The path will provide active transportation for citizens to University Estates. There was also discussion of construction on Richland Avenue over Coates Run.