Parking concerns good problem for downtown

Published 5:00 am Monday, August 11, 2008

A pending review of parking issues in the downtown arearepresents a good problem to have for an increasingly vibrant partof Brookhaven.

While many cities in the state don’t have to worry about parkingdowntown – because they no longer have downtown areas to speak of -Brookhaven’s downtown is experiencing “growing pains” associatedwith more residents, shoppers and even tourists coming to thearea.

After a downtown resident appeared at Tuesday’s aldermen meetingto discuss parking-related issues, a subcommittee of board memberswas formed to look into the problem. The panel is expected toformulate ideas that will balance the interests of residents,business owners, shoppers and others who live in or frequent thedowntown area.

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The parking concerns result from businesses that have remainedcommitted to the downtown area and shoppers who choose to supportthem. Also, more and more business and property owners are seeingfit to convert their buildings’ upstairs areas into apartments,which have become popular spots for people looking for places tolive.

On top of that, chamber officials are looking to take advantageof rural tourism efforts that could include promoting uniqueaspects of Brookhaven’s downtown. If successful, these efforts willbring even more people into that area of the city.

While some may grumble because they have to park a littlefarther away from their destinations than they’d like, the recentbusiness and residential developments should be seen as positivesigns for this community.

And positive developments are not limited to downtown.

According to last Friday’s story on economic activity, a newmotel is expected to be completed near Exit 40 on Interstate 55 inearly 2009. It will join a number of retail establishments thathave opened in recent years.

And a finally-in-the-works lighting project to illuminate theinterchange will further enhance that area’s attractiveness forpassing motorists. Traffic safety should be yet another benefit ofthe lighting.

Whether downtown or along the boulevard, any effort to getpeople to stop and spend money in Brookhaven should be encouragedand appreciated.

These local developments are coming about despite nationalheadlines about a sluggish economy and rising costs ofnecessities.

While the developments may present some challenges, such how toaccommodate parking downtown, they are merely growing painsassociated with a growing Brookhaven. Cities struggling againstcurrent hard economic times would be glad to have such goodproblems to try and solve.