Downtown Norwich parking plan raises hopes in advance

Members of the Norwich Parking Commission are keeping details of todays special meeting close to the vest. But people along Main Street are cautiously optimistic at the prospect of revamping the downtown parking situation.
Robert Farwell, director of the Otis Library, has been a vocal advocate of expanding parking in town.

Nobody came up to me and asked what I would like in my perfect world, but I did know they were working on something, Farwell said. My views are well known. Parking down here has been a problem for a long time.

Farwell, like just about everyone else in the downtown corridor, believes there are not enough parking spaces available. He also would like to see better, less ambiguous signs that clearly state parking hours and restrictions.

Parking commission officials have declined to discuss the substance of the proposal before tonights presentation, though Richard Kramer, executive director of Rose City Renaissance, said he has been following the commissions efforts over the last couple of months. Rose City
Renaissance is an advocate for businesses in the downtown corridors.

I cant comment on their report, because I havent seen it, Kramer said. But theyve been talking a lot about the downtown area at meetings Ive attended.

He declined to elaborate further.

Norwich Corporation Counsel Michael Driscoll, who has reviewed Tuesdays plans, declined to comment before the plan is made public.
Commission Chairman Olive Buddington said Police Chief Louis Fusaro also has reviewed the proposal as the citys official traffic authority. Fusaro could not be reached for comment.

Bes Kutrolli, owner of La Stella Pizza on Market Street, has no rear parking and very little in front. He hopes any new proposal does not include more parking meters.

It would be better for business if parking is free, he said. This is Norwich, not Manhattan.

Paul Seifert, owner of Billy Wilsons Ageing Still on Broadway, is also interested in the contents of the proposal. He believes the current parking arrangement hurts business.

People arent going to use satellite parking at the garages or Brown Park and come into downtown, he said. I dont know what the answer is. But I know the current way isnt working.

Kent S. Baker, president of the Norwich Community Development Corp., said the report would not strictly come under his groups sphere of influence.

But if they make changes that help bring people and businesses into the downtown Im all for it, he said.
City of Norwich
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