By Cathy Gueydan
A new parking lot to accommodate downtown shoppers is in the works. The lease with the city of Hammond for the property located on the corner of West Thomas Street and North Magnolia Street, the parking lot across from PJ’s Coffee shop, has not been renewed by AT&T. The city and merchants have been aggressively pursuing alternative solutions to the parking dilemma.
Phillip Nicaud, Downtown Development District (DDD) meeting chairman said, “Parking is an issue. “A cooperative agreement between Hancock Bank, the city of Hammond and the DDD Board has been reached for a new parking area located on South Magnolia Street and West Morris Avenue,” Terry Lynn Smith, DDD Executive Director said. “The construction cost of $60,000 and will be evenly split between the three parties.” The lease will require the city to landscape and maintain the area.
Another concern of downtown merchants is the excessive speed of vehicles on West Thomas Street. Donna Miller, downtown merchant and board member said, “The lights should be green, red, green, red in order to slow traffic.” Board members discussed the possibility of speaking with the Department of Transportation about the prospect of changing the light sequence on West Thomas Street in an effort to slow traffic. According to Smith this would take time and the cooperation with other downtown merchants.
In other business, the DDD is urging restaurants and merchants to stay open late for Southeastern University’s homecoming. Donna Miller, owner of PJ’s Coffee shop said, “If customers bring in their home game tickets they will receive a free upsize at PJ’s.” This offer is good for all home games for the entire season.