The solution to Clayton’s much maligned parking deficit could be in the neglected spaces behind downtown buildings.
The town and several property owners preparing a contract that will allow Clayton to develop parking spaces just off of Horne Square. If all goes well, Clayton could pursue other spaces around town.
“This is the first of several,” Town Manager Steve Biggs said. “There’s an assembly of theses areas that are neglected and forgotten and frankly eyesores. This will put them in productive use.”
The first area will be the block east of Lombard Street, behind the buildings on Main Street and south of the railroad tracks. Clayton is pursuing a lease-to-own contract with four property owners on a combined quarter-acre strip of land.
Biggs said the parties are still negotiating the terms of the contract, and he doesn’t yet know how many parking spaces the quarter-acre lot will yield. But he hopes they’re just the first of many and is confident downtown will benefit from more spaces.
Planning Director David DeYoung said the broader plan targets the spaces behind properties from the Clayton Mart to Horn Square. The amount of downtown parking comes up often at Town Council meetings, and Clayton leaders consider it one of the town’s more urgent needs. Clayton allows on-street parking in most of downtown but has little in the way of public parking lots. With turning to the backs of commercial buildings, the aim is to solve two problems at once.
“These are areas that have become overgrown or the structures are in disrepair,” DeYoung said. “The town will clean up the properties and create more surface parking, probably unpaved at first.”
When Clayton bought the building at 220 E. Main St., the town tore down a derelict and unused warehouse on the lot, freeing up some space for parking. To the east of that building, the town is looking at a gated alleyway as an eventual pedestrian walk from that parking lot onto Main Street.
“It could be a nice paved walkway, safe and lit and clean,” DeYoung said. “All this stuff, like all government projects, is contingent on funding being there.”
Drew Jackson: 919-553-7234, Ext. 104; @jdjackson