Westerville Eyes Plan To Add More Parking, Attract New Business

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Take a drive through uptown Westerville and you will find plenty of restaurants and shops, but you might struggle to find a parking spot.

"Especially during rush hour--you can't park. You can't parallel park,” said Judy Andrus, a Galena resident who says she drives through uptown Westerville just about every day.

Andrus is not alone when it comes to having trouble parking.

Otterbein student Chad Webster says he visits the uptown area at least once or twice a week and often has a difficult time finding parking.

“Especially around dinner time it's pretty tough to come down here,” Webster said. “We usually end up just walking from school. If we ever want to drive up here, it's a pretty bad issue because there's not much behind Jimmy V's and everywhere around is pretty much full."

City officials say they have been working on a plan for more than a year to make improvements uptown, and one major part of the plan includes the parking situation.

The city’s “Uptown Westerville Comprehensive Plan" was adopted earlier this month and includes several proposals for additional parking.

One proposal would be to construct a new alley and a one-story parking deck behind city hall that could add 70 to 100 parking spaces.

"What we want to make sure we're doing is providing plenty of parking and that people are continuing to visit and have a place to go,” said Christa Dickey, community affairs administrator for the city of Westerville.

The city's plan also identifies a need to better use the uptown alleyways.

The plan says the alleys could ease congestion on State Street while providing access to more parking options.

There are also proposals for a mini park in addition to attracting new businesses to the area.

All of it is part of a decision-making process Dickey says will be fine-tuned in the coming months.

"It will continue to be a community engagement process so that everyone will be involved and have a stake in what's going to be done over the next several years,” she said.