Justice center lot will include leased spaces

PARKERSBURG – Wood County commissioners Monday unanimously decided to proceed with their original plan to lease 42 parking spaces in the new justice center parking lot.

The parking lot, constructed after the former magistrate court building was demolished, has 79 spaces.

Thirteen of the spaces are assigned as employee parking and six are for parking for hybrid vehicles, which was required to qualify the building for Leadership Energy and Environmental Design designation. Seven spaces are reserved for handicapped parking, 42 were assigned for leasing and the remainder of the spaces are for customer and public parking.

The commissioners said parking was designated at the former law enforcement building for jury parking.

Wood County Circuit Judge J.D. Beane, Prosecutor Jason Wharton and Pauline Yearego, magistrate court clerk, told commissioners last week there is insufficient public and juror parking available. Wharton said parking also is needed for witnesses, police officers and others needed in court on certain days.

“It’s not an everyday problem, but the jurors need a place to park. Each court has their own trial dates, but there could be a minimum of 30 to 90 people called in at one time, that’s a lot of people looking for spaces,” Beane said.

Wharton invited the commissioners to check the parking lots on days when juries have been called.

Commissioner Blair Couch reported he checked the lot the day two juries were reporting.

“There were 20 juror parking spots and eight public parking spaces empty,” Couch said.

Wood County Administrator Marty Seufer was asked to check again in the afternoon when another jury panel was called to report. Seufer said there were several empty parking spots open.

“Some of them were parked in the permit parking spaces because they aren’t leased out yet,” Couch said.

Couch suggested having placards available for the prosecutor’s office to use to reserve spaces as needed for witnesses, or officers.

“We could also take some of spots designated as permit parking and redesignate them,” Couch said.

“It think what we planned originally is fine, it doesn’t hurt anybody to walk 100 yards,” commission President Wayne Dunn said.

Commissioner Steve Gainer said “there is more parking available now for jury parking then there ever has been.”

“The original plan was well done. As time goes by, we can make some minor changes,” Dunn said.

Gainer moved to proceed with the plan including offering the 42 spaces for lease.

“If there is a problem with jurors, the city would probably be willing to bag some of the meters in that other lot,” Gainer said.

The leased parking spaces will be offered to the public for $50 a month. Anyone interested in leasing a parking spot can call the administrator’s office 304-424-1984.