Three governments, one parking problem

Courtesy For a small fee, Evans Marine Service on Woodin Avenue would be willing to store boats in a safe and secure manner according to Mayor Bob Goedde.
CHELAN – Lake Chelan School District Superintendent Barry DePaoli came before the Chelan City Council Tuesday, Feb. 9 to discuss his dislike of boats and trailers parking on school property five months out of the year. “We want to be good stewards with the community, but some people are leaving their boats in the school parking lot the entire summer from May until September,” DePaoli said.
The longtime schools boss said it wouldn’t be an issue if there were to be daily use for certain sections of the lot, but not all 90 spaces.
He estimated that two designated sections could yield about 55 slots for locals and tourists.
Chelan City Councilman Tim Hollingsworth said, “The Chelan PUD (Public Utility District) needs to be involved,” because the source of the high school parking lot dilemma is lack of parking at the lake boat ramp. That area only has room for about a dozen cars and boats.
DePaoli said the school needs the parking for sports and summer school activities and he really didn’t want to cause issues by closing it down completely. He would like a resolution by May 1 when the tourist and boating season begins.
DePaoli made the remarks quickly (half an hour) as he had to attend his own school board meeting, which unfortunately, started at 6 p.m., just like the City Council meeting, on Tuesdays.
The simultaneous meetings were the subject of complaints by citizens and news media in the past as it would be impossible to attend both. Neither the school nor the city wanted to change their schedules to accommodate anyone. Local media must choose between the two meetings or have staffers attend both, which is a non-starter for skeleton staffs.
Chelan Mayor Bob Goedde suggested Evans Marine Service on Woodin Avenue would be willing to store boats in a safe and secure manner for a small fee.
No one involved in the discussion wanted downtown Chelan to be inundated by cars with boats on trailers causing massive chaos since downtown parking has always been difficult during tourist season.
Councilman Erin McCardle suggested a fee for parking in the school lot, while others suggested a manned kiosk be set up either at the PUD ramp or the school lot, but Chelan Parks, Recreation & Community Services Director Paul Horne said such an arrangement would cost around $25,000 and would most likely require a parking enforcement attendant.
Superintendent DePaoli said some people even park their RV’s in the high school lot and that he was also concerned about liability claims if accidents occur on school property.
Chelan City Clerk Peri Gallucci said insurance for the lot would initially cost no money, but as soon as claims were filed the insurance would be adjusted upwards accordingly.
DePaoli said he hasn’t yet had a claim in his 20 years as Superintendent.  He suggested there was parking in Manson for $10 a day, but all agreed that that would be too far away to accommodate tourists and locals alike because of the distance involved in getting people back to the ramp in Chelan.
A suggestion was made that perhaps colored windshield stickers could be bought by locals or those purchasing parking passes for the season so any parking enforcement officer would see the stickers and not give out tickets to those who have paid the fees. 
Councilman Hollingsworth suggested the use of parking meters with the proceeds split between the school and the city.
About 22 persons attended the meeting via Zoom, but no representative from the Chelan PUD were among them. 
Keep reading the Lake Chelan Mirror for updates on this issue.
NCW Managing Editor Gary Bégin can be emailed: Emails may be used as Letters to the Editor in future NCW Media publications. 


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