City council reduces Welch Avenue parking times, delays Campustown Plaza design


Ames City Council hears testimony from community members about allowing for free parking during the Summer Sidewalk Sales from Jul 25-27 at the Ames City Council meeting at the Ames City Hall on May 14. The council voted down the motion.

Kara Gravert

The Ames City Council approved the waiver of parking meter fees for the Main Street Summer Sidewalk Sales Tuesday night.

The council arrived at the approval despite Third Ward Rep. David Martin’s motion for denial, citing the council’s previous vote against a similar request for parking fee waivers for the Ames Pridefest.  

“What we have are two events asking for the exact same dollar amount,” Martin said. “We said ‘yes’ to one of them and ‘no’ to the other … I think we should keep saying ‘no’ until we figure out what our policy is going to be on how we evaluate these requests.”

On Feb. 26 the Council arrived at a deadlock vote, denying the request for a complete waiver of all 613 downtown meters for the Ames Pridefest, instead waiving parking fees for only 75 downtown meters.

First Ward Rep. Gloria Betcher agreed that the council has been inconsistent on the issue and the policy is in need of further examination, however because of the council’s responsibility to Main Street, Betcher claimed now is not the time to deny the request.

“We have a certain fiscal responsibility to support Main Street,” Betcher said. “I don’t know if we can develop a policy before July 25.”

The Council also motioned to delay the direction of the construction and design of a Campustown Plaza until the future of Ames Fire Station 2 on Chamberlain Street is confirmed.

The loss of 11 parking stalls comes with the current redesign of Welch Avenue to include a Plaza in the place of Lot Y on Chamberlain. While council members have shown support for an investment in Campustown, business owners continue to express concern towards the loss of parking in light of a Campustown Plaza and how customer access will be affected.

In an effort to mitigate the potential reduction in parking availability, the Council motioned to decrease the timing of the parking meters near the 100 and 200 blocks of Welch Avenue from 10 hour durations to 2 hour durations.

“[Ames] is already headed towards a less personal automobile-centric society,” At-Large Rep. Bronwyn Beatty-Hansen said. “I’m hopeful that [residents’] patterns will adapt and they will use the intermodal or they’ll take CyRide to work if they can’t find a 10-hour spot.”  

The Council also approved four properties for the The Downtown Façade Grant Program. The grant facilitates improvements to downtown retail and other storefronts. The City Council annually budgets $50,000 as matching grants for eligible projects.