By JOHN KLINE
THE GOSHEN NEWS
GOSHEN — A new city parking lot may be on its way to Goshen’s downtown.
Goshen Redevelopment Commission members Tuesday approved an $8,500 contract with Jones Petrie Rafinski Corp. to conduct surveying and design work for a possible city parking lot to be located next to Maple City Market.
According to Mark Brinson, community development director for Goshen, the city is currently looking at constructing the parking lot as a way to provide additional parking spaces for businesses within and surrounding the 300 block of South Main Street.
“We’ve talked about this project before about the potential of a parking lot just south of Jefferson Street and north of Maple City Market,” Brinson said. “This agreement allows us to move forward with the design of that parking lot. So JPR would be doing the survey work, and then doing the actual design of the project.”
According to the agreement, JPR is being asked to perform a topographical survey, boundary survey and design of the proposed parking lot in an area encompassing portions of the southeast quarter block at the intersection of Jefferson Street and Main Street.
As for the boundary survey, Brinson indicated that deeds and all other supporting documentation verifying lot dimensions, locations and owners will need to be provided by JPR for the following properties: 308 S. Main St.; 310 S. Main St.; 312 S. Main St.; and 314 S. Main St.
Once all of the requested information has been provided by JPR, the commission will then make the decision on whether or not to proceed with the parking lot project, though Brinson was quick to note that the city has not yet made up its mind on the matter.
“We’re not committing to funding the project today,” Brinson said, “but we are moving ahead with the design.”
According to the contract, the boundary survey, topography mapping and field data collection and delivery should all be completed by JPR within 60 days of receiving a notice to proceed, while the parking lot design should be completed within 90 days of the notice to proceed.
In other action, commission members voted to approve the funding of a feasibility study through American Structurepoint Inc. to look at the possible establishment of a Quiet Zone along the Norfolk Southern Marion Branch railroad line in Goshen. The cost of the study is not to exceed $20,500.
According to Goshen Civil City Engineer Mary Cripe, the idea of putting in a Quiet Zone has been percolating for years among the residents and businesses most affected by the noise of the nearby trains.
“I think it’s something that the residents of this community have talked about for quite a while,” Cripe said of the Quiet Zone, which is essentially a designated area where the safety has been improved to the point where trains are no longer required to blow their whistles. “But being able to fund the improvements that are necessary to establish a Quiet Zone have always been a concern, not knowing what all is needed to get that done. So that’s the reason we’re proceeding with the study, because there are all these other projects going on at the same time, like the possibility of U.S. 33 leaving its current alignment and going up over the Marion line.”
Cripe also noted the ongoing discussion about the possible curve realignment of the Marion Line at Ninth Street so that the trains would no longer have to slow below 20 mph, thus reducing the amount of time cars would be stopped at train crossings when a train is present.
“With those discussions, and the curve realignment, and the way that would work out, it would then facilitate the need to close Ninth Street between Washington and Logan streets,” Cripe said. “So basically one thing has led to another, and at this point in time we’re looking at what it would potentially cost, and would we need to close other crossings in order to implement this. It’s going to be a whole process that could take between three to five years to get through, so we’re in the very initial stages of gathering information and starting the analysis.”
As with many large-scale construction projects, Cripe noted that installation of a Quiet Zone will likely require some compromise by the community due to the amount of work and cost associated with the establishment of such zones.
“If it’s something that the community truly wants, there’s a give and take with this whole process,” Cripe said. “If you want the Quiet Zone, then you’re probably going to have to give up some of the grade crossings.”