Additional parking on the way

Park land along Cedar Creek bordering East 7th Street and Union Street will become a temporary parking lot to alleviate parking issues in downtown with the new construction of Credent Wealth Management.

AUBURN — A temporary parking lot to be constructed along Cedar Creek in downtown Auburn will alleviate parking issues for a couple of years as the city looks for a permanent solution to the problem.

With Credent Wealth Management set to occupy its new location in downtown in 2022, the new parking lot will be for the influx in employees the company is looking to hire.

City officials guaranteed Credent Wealth Management administration parking for 55 cars when construction of the new building at 200 E. 7th St. was approved.

After jumping through hurdles with FEMA and the Auburn Board of Zoning Appeals, the Auburn Plan Commission granted the city use of park land along Cedar Creek for the temporary parking lot. The approval Tuesday night came with a stern stipulation after much discussion.

With unanimous approval, the temporary parking lot must be removed by Dec. 31, 2024 and the land along Cedar Creek must be returned to its current state or improved. The plan commission was strict on that demand, a sentiment that was echoed by Rod Renkenberger, executive director of the Maumee River Basin Commission.

Renkenberger said he would be a stickler on enforcing that date.

The most outspoken plan commission member was James Finchum, who represents the city council on the board.

“Personally, I’m not in favor of it, but with all of the hoops they (the city) have gone through, I will vote for it,” he said.

He went on to say he is not anti-business, he is just against converting land which is already used as greenspace into a parking lot.

Construction on the temporary parking lot will begin this fall with hopes of having it completed by the first of the year. The parking lot will be tucked in along Cedar Creek off of Union Street south of 7th Street. Access to the lot will be gained from a city alley, which is currently in place behind House of Spirits.

The parking lot will feature 51 parking spaces, three of which are ADA compliant and will be primarily constructed of asphalt grindings/millings which are permeable to allow for water runoff. The ADA spaces will be located on the north end of the parking lot along 7th Street and will be constructed out of permeable asphalt.

The parking lot will also include lighting, painted stripping and landscaping.

In describing the project, City Attorney Erik Weber said the key word is “temporary.”

“This is temporary,” he said. “At the end of this project, the property will be returned to its current condition.”

He said there are already plans in the works to make the space an enhanced greenspace as Mayor Mike Ley is looking to redevelop the area along Cedar Creek as park land.

Weber didn’t have an issue with the strict timeline on the project as he said the city and private individuals are already working to alleviate the parking issue downtown.

To fulfill the city’s original memorandum of understanding with Credent, Weber said the city administration is working with Credent to find four additional parking spaces downtown.

After much discussion on the issue, all of the plan commission members agreed the benefits outweigh the negatives at this point, and attracting new business and professionals to the city is important.

Ley said work on the project could begin as early as next week, depending on the availability of the contractor, JPS Excavating, materials and weather. Plans are to have the project complete before winter.

The parking lot will be available for public use after business hours and on weekends, but will be controlled by Credent Wealth Management.

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