BLANCHESTER — An old parking lot could become a possible future community hub.
At Thursday’s Blanchester Village Council meeting, Councilmember Reilly Hopkins proposed a new project for a parking lot located on Broadway Street that he thinks will be beneficial to the community.
The project would utilize the former Dewey’s parking lot on Broadway Street to “its fullest compacity.”
Hopkins hopes locals are encouraged more to use street parking since some parks have become more accessible and to make the parking lot “more of a community gathering spot” — a place for future events, the farmer’s market, food vendors, and other local events to encourage community engagement.
“When I was looking into this, the Dewey’s parking lot, since I can remember … has not had the greatest reputation. But it has a beautiful parking lot back there that I would like to see used to the fullest extent,” said Hopkins. “I think this little complement will be wonderful there.”
He indicated members of the village’s utility board are interested but they want to hear what council thinks.
Mayor John Carman asked about funding the project. Hopkins told him he’d ask Fiscal Officer Jewelie Casteel to look at what the minimum is the streets department could pay.
“Whatever we couldn’t fund we’d take that from the excess that would be taking from the police department that we’ve had. That would be general fund money essentially. Or I would also say the money we’ve had in savings from our health insurance by not paying it 100 percent,” Hopkins said.
Some of the council members have concerns about paying labor expenses and food vendors.
Councilmember Chad Hollon mentioned how he did some research and, according to him, “you either pay them to come or you guarantee them they’re going to have a certain income when they come.”
Hollon also feels they should wait and see what comes about from other projects happening in the village.
Hopkins responded he doesn’t believe they should wait “at the leisure” of other projects and thinks it will be beneficial to the town.
Hollon and Councilmember Richard Simpson said they believe they should slow down and mind their “p’s and q’s” with financing for projects.
No decision was made on the project during the meeting.
Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574