Tuesday, October 4, 2022
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Putnam Justice Center Project Impacting Parking For Local Businesses

The Putnam County Justice Center addition project causing parking issues for some neighboring business owners.

Mike Reel of Olympic Investment Group co-owns Liberty Square across the street that has some 20 businesses inside. Reel said the closure of the Justice Center ‘s main parking lot has worsened a long-term parking issue.

“The days that they have court you can just see a flood of people walking across the street,” Reel said. “Even though we try to patrol and some of the businesses put out cones. We’ve had people towed. You just can’t stop it.”

Reel said one tenant has already moved out of their location with several others considering it because of court goers taking parking spots. Reel said the county has been responsive to the issue by providing signage of no parking.

“We already had no parking signs and private parking,” Reel said. “We’ve had those up for years, but when this happened, the problem came so intense that several of the land owners around the Justice Center started having those put up. The county is actually providing that signage. So, we called and they are going to put some on our property. The signs have helped a little bit, but it’s almost like the only thing we can do is have a deputy out there during those court times.”

The Justice Center addition is being built where the previous parking lot was located. Since the project began, people have been asked to park at another freshly paved lot further down the road at the corner of Maple Avenue and Spring Street.

Reel said it seems that residents are not using the parking lots built last year by the county to deal with the issue. Many county commissioners at the time expressed concern that people would not walk.

“It’s been really frustrating,” Reel said. “Cookeville in general has a parking issue. Parking is never easy, and we as a community have not been that progressive in solving that problem. The difference here is the problem has been compounded by this construction project from our county.”

Reel said a long term solution in his mind is for the county to establish new parking closer to the courthouse square. Reel said in the short-term, he hopes the county continues to try and help reduce the situation.

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