QUINCY — The closure of a downtown parking garage in Quincy has created more congestion in on-street parking around the Washington Park area.
Don’t expect the parking situation to improve any time soon.
The garage at 123 S. Fifth was closed last week. Michael Seaver, director of inspection and enforcement for the city, said a concrete column, also called a pilaster, on the southern wall on the west side of the drive entrance suffered significant damage.
Seaver said the parking garage will be closed until repairs can be made. He also wants a structural engineer to inspect other areas of the building.
Members of the Quincy Fire Department helped remove any cars that were not voluntarily removed last week.
The top floor of the parking deck has been closed for several years. It has been barricaded because of structural failures of the ramps.
President of parking garage died Feb. 6
The parking garage is owned by PDQ II, Inc., a corporation. Records with the Illinois Secretary of State’s office show the president of the corporation is Tim Wiewel, and Andrea Ash is the secretary. Ash and Wiewel also were business partners in the Wiewel & Ash Accounting agency.
Wiewel also is listed as the president of the WCU Tower Corp., which owns the Western Catholic Union building at 510 Maine.
Wiewel died Feb. 6 after a long battle with cancer. He has one surviving child, Lynn Wiewel, who lives in the St. Louis area, and three surviving siblings.
So now what happens?
“I don’t know. That’s a good question,” Seaver said. “We sent a notice to the registered agent for the corporation, which was Wiewel. It also lists his secretary, who was his business partner. We’ll see where it goes from there. We might have to open a court case. In the meantime, it stays closed.”
Seaver: ‘It would be enormously costly’ to repair parking garage
Seaver said Shortridge Construction installed a substantial temporary brace on March 11 to mitigate any chance of a further collapse.
Asked if the structure ever would be used again for parking, Seaver replied, “We haven’t done any assessment, and we haven’t had engineering look at it, but it would be enormously costly. There’s not much anybody can do right now. It has pushed a lot of cars out on the street.”
And that has frustrated some business owners in downtown Quincy.
Parking is limited to two hours along Maine Street and around Washington Park. Parking violations are addressed by complaint only. A parking ticket comes with a $10 fine.
“Generally speaking, congested street parking, such as someone parking in front of a business and then walking to their nearby place of work or home, would be less than ideal,” said Jeremy Ledford, director of programming and marketing for the District. “It could negatively impact potential customers coming into that business by blocking storefronts and creating longer walks to get to the business.
“The best-case scenario would be for there to always be appropriate, designated parking for longer-term parking (residents, employees, etc.) and leave street availability for customers and clients of businesses to easily access their favorite stores throughout the day.”
Parking in downtown Quincy is ‘all about perception’
Rodney Hart owns Second String Music with his wife Sheryl on the first floor of the Dodd Building on the corner of Fifth and Maine. He says several customers have been upset that parking near his front door has not been available this week.
“Parking in Quincy is all about perception,” Hart said. “Go to Walmart or any big box store, and park in that mammoth parking lot. You typically are a good block or two blocks away from the front door. Because it’s such a huge front door and big building, you think you’re right in front of it.
“When you come downtown, and you see my little door that says ‘Music Store,’ and you have to park a half-block or three quarters of a block away, you just hear ‘grumble grumble grumble.’ It does concern us, because I don’t want my customers to be upset. My fear is that they’ll come down here, they can’t get close and they’ll just drive away.”
Parking hasn’t been as much of an issue for Schuecking’s Men’s Wear, 106 N. Fifth, because a small lot is available south of the building.
“Our business is not affected. We’re still busy,” owner Jeff Schuecking said. “People still come and go. We don’t really have too much problem.”
Music store owner wants two-hour parking limit enforced
Hart wants the two-hour parking limit enforced while the PDQ lot is unavailable.
“If you don’t get downtown by 8 o’clock in the morning, every spot (along Maine Street between Fifth and Sixth) is taken by someone who works in the WCU Building or the Maine Center (at 535 Maine),” he said.
“Maybe our esteemed mayor should hire a civilian to do (the Quincy Police Department’s) job so they can enforce the parking in downtown Quincy. There’s a lot of car owners who now have to scramble to find parking. I always park on the north side of Maine in front of (Mercantile Bank), but this week, I had to park a little further down because the first seven or eight spots were taken. Normally, they aren’t. I don’t mind walking half a block or three quarters of a block, but for older folks, that can be a huge issue.”
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