The Gettysburg Borough Council has asked Borough Manager Charles Gable and Director of Planning, Zoning & Code Enforcement Carly Marshall to move forward with the development of “parklets” that will provide space for businesses to allow social distancing.
The parklets would be set up in parking spaces in front of local businesses and on Lincoln Square.
“We have excess parking spaces. Businesses have a need for extra space,” said Gable. “The people we consulted were very receptive.”
Gable said he had spoken with State Representative Dan Moul, who he said was “very receptive.”
Gable said he believed the borough would have statutory authority to create the parklets because the project has “national, state or regional interest.”
The parklets would be rented out.
The council also endorsed the possibility of creating a rotating system of temporarily closing streets near Lincoln Square.
One street would be closed on a preset schedule every weekend, allowing it to become a pedestrian mall in which businesses could use the sidewalk and the street, for instance by putting out additional tables.
Councilmembers said people could also bring their takeout orders to the tables in the street.
“Other cities through the country are trying this,” said Marshall.
“I love this idea,” said councilmember Patti Lawson. “We have to give kudos to Main Street Gettysburg. They had the idea of the Long, Long, Long, Long Dinner Party.”
Councilmember Matt Moon said parklets on the square would help with inequity that is created because only some businesses have room for parklets in front of their business.
“The roads are already ADA accessible,” said Moon. “The infrastructure is already here. I applaud the creativity.”
The borough also discussed suspending the existing ordinance that bans open containers of alcoholic beverages on the sidewalks and streets.
“I think it is important to find an open-container workaround.” said Moon.
Councilmember Wesley Heyser said he supported the parklet concept but was concerned about emergency vehicle access on closed streets. “It’s dangerous from a public safety standpoint,” said Heyser.
I love the idea of closing the streets,” said councilmember Chris Berger, “especially during this time. We have to be concerned about public safety but I’m sure we can work it out.”
Councilmember John Lawver noted that ambulances would also have issues when roads are closed. “I’m in favor on the concept but there’ are a lot of details have to be worked out,” said Lawver.
“We need to move quickly,” said Gable.
In other business, Finance Director Nicolette James said the number of disaster relief emergency loan applications has not increased dramatically but the grants will remain available going forward. James said the lack of interest was probably because many businesses were reopening.
“Things are coming back,” said James. “We received more real estate tax than we anticipated.”
“Town has been busier; parking revenue has been creeping back,” said James. “Going green is going to have a significant impact.”
Borough manager Charles Gable said “we will not ever regain” the lost parking revenue, noting that moving to the yellow phase has only brought the borough back to between 25 and 35 percent of its prior parking revenue.
James said the parking revenue would likely increase once hotels begin to open.
The council voted to lower the rates for Long term parking (LTP) permits by $10 from $35 to $25 through September. “LTP is discounted parking, primarily for the service sector,” said Gable.
The council praised Police Chief Robert Glenny for handling the May 28 human rights demonstration without putting uniformed officers on the square.
“I want to compliment the police department,” said Lawson.
“We had uniformed folks nearby if needed. There was no violence,” said Glenny.
Glenny said the department had a “duty to intercede policy” in its handbook in which officers were required to intercede if they observed other officers using undue force.
“We need to be community oriented,” said Glenny.
Gable noted that although Adams is county having a good response to the census. Gettysburg Borough “is trailing significantly behind.”
“I implore people in Gettysburg Borough to respond to the census. Let’s make sure our counts are accurate. It’s crucial to the funding of the borough,” said Gable.
Public Works Director Robert Harbaugh said construction on Broadway Street is 90% complete with some signs and landscaping work still needing to be done.
Harbaugh said the reconstruction of the Stevens Alley wall is complete and that new bike signals were being installed Queen and Steinwehr streets.
Borough President Jacob Schindel called for a moment of silence to honor Michael Shestok who regularly attended council meetings and who passed away suddenly on May 29.
“Michael was a vet, a father, a husband, and a great friend of ours, said Schindel. “He was also a volunteer on the Planning Committee, Main Street Gettysburg, and other organizations.”
The borough’s next recycling event will be on June 20.
The full zoom meeting is here: