City, church strike deal on downtown parking area
Kerry Craig | News-Telegram Assistant Editor

March 8, 2006 -- A potential for additional parking in the downtown area was the highlight of Tuesday night's Sulphur Springs City Council meeting.

Following an executive session to discuss a parking utility lease agreement with First Baptist Church, council members agreed to participate in the construction of a parking lot on the former site of the Tapp Furniture Company building at the corner of Tomlinson and Gilmer streets.

The church had bought the property and demolished the building for additional parking for the church. The city saw a possibility of much-needed parking space in the downtown area.

"We approached them some months ago with the potential of making that a parking lot available to citizens as well as church members," City Manager Marc Maxwell said. "To that end, the city is going to contribute roughly $10,000, and the church is going to spruce it up a bit with brick or stamped concrete and period lighting and planter boxes."

The finished parking lot, according to the city, would fit well with the city's master plan for revitalization of the downtown area.

When the building was first demolished, the possibility of a spring was considered when water began seeping from the ground. While the city does not think there is actually a spring on the site, some kind of marker could be considered.

"That is certainly a possibility," Maxwell said. "We had our doubts about that being a spring in the first place."

After delaying the start of the meeting 30 minutes because of the primary elections, council members moved rapidly through the agenda before addressing the parking lot issue.

Routine items, including second reading on ordinances updating enforcement of unsightly weeds and grass and a "short form" platting process, were quickly approved.

Also receiving approval was a request for a zoning change from multiple family residential to heavy commercial around the intersection of South League and Bellview streets. A property owner is planning to construct a self-storage warehouse in the area.

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