HARRODSBURG — If you attend church in downtown Harrodsburg, finding an empty parking place on Sunday morning near your congregation can be an answered prayer.
Saturdays are getting busy, too, since Harrodsburg Baptist Church recently added a gymnasium and began hosting Upward youth basketball games. And when jurors are called in, parking spaces are at a premium around the nearby courthouse.
To remedy those parking problems, or at least put a dent in them, Hadden Dean of Harrodsburg Baptist offered a solution at Monday’s Harrodsburg City Commission meeting: Make Chiles Street at the rear of the church one-way between Office and Mooreland streets, and switch from parallel to diagonal parking.
Dean calculated such a move would create 60 additional spaces that “will benefit all of downtown.”
Mayor Eddie Long said the commission would take the suggestion under advisement. The street would need to be measured to see if it could accommodate such a parking pattern, and businesses and residents in the area would need to be polled to learn if there are any objections to the changes.
“I’ve heard some opposition to having it be a one-way street,” Long said.
Dean said Harrodsburg Baptist, which has a two-story parking structure attached to its main building, is “landlocked” and has no way of adding more parking spaces on its property. Even if it could, the $2-million pricetag of building another parking structure to house 60 cars is cost-prohibitive, he said.
The church always makes its parking lots available to the public, but might have to limit their use to members of its congregation and participants in church events if more spaces are not created, Dean inferred.
“We’ve got more parking than anybody downtown,” he said. “We don’t want to get stingy with it.”
In other business, the commission was introduced to new Harrodsburg First director Julie Wagner by board chairman Dixon Dedman.
“We are right now in a great position, recognized on the state level as a very solid Main Street program. She will do things for our Main Street that we only dreamed of,” Dedman said of Wagner, who moved to Harrodsburg First after a long, successful run at Heart of Danville. “We shot the moon here, and won.”
Wagner was equally gushing.
“I’m happy to be in Harrodsburg, excited by the potential,” she told the commission. “You have one of the most beautiful Main Streets I have ever seen.”
The commission also gave final approval to an ordinance that outlaws the sale or possession of synthetic marijuana products within city limits, effective immediately.
Police Chief Billy Whiteneck said at least two stores in town have been selling the man-made pot products that are marketed under such names as Scooby Snacks. They sell for as much $60 per small package and are meant to be smoked to produce a high, even though warnings on the packages say “Not for human consumption,” the chief said.
The commission also praised Whiteneck and six other Harrodsburg officers who have volunteered to work overnight shifts in Salyersville, which was hit hard by a tornado on March 3. Teams of two officers from Harrodsburg have been patrolling the streets at night to give Salyersville’s overextended two-man department a break.
The officers are working without pay on their days off to help out. Harrodsburg allows them to drive city patrol cars and pays for the gas.