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City carves out parking for Panera Bread

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Panera Bread customers who have been parking illegally beside the Charleston Town Center store to grab some bagels will soon have a few legal spaces to park on Clendenin Street, thanks to Charleston City Council.

Council members approved a small 15-minute parking zone on the east side of Clendenin Street Monday evening, fixing a problem that had cropped up since Panera Bread opened its downtown store in 2011.

"We've had an issue with parking, blocking the sidewalk in front of Panera Bread," said Joe Deneault, chairman of council's Streets and Traffic Committee. "So we passed an ordinance restricting the hours they can park. In return, the mall will put up restrictions -- bollards -- to keep people from pulling up onto the sidewalk."

Parking was not previously legal along that section of Clendenin Street, but a curb opening in front of the store invited people to pull up onto the sidewalk, Deneault said.

Committee members first proposed to allow parking from the bread store to the Chop House restaurant on the other side of the mall entrance. But after working with the affected parties, they agreed to restrict the parking zone to only three spaces beside the bread shop.

Once the signs and restrictions are in place, parking will be allowed only between 6 a.m. and 2 p.m.

In other business Monday, council members:

* Agreed to apply for a $20,000 grant from the Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation. The grant money would supplement money the city reserved from a previous National Endowment for the Arts grant for the city's public art.

"There was $20,000 set aside for maintenance, rehabilitation, and to purchase one or two pieces of new art," said Councilwoman Susie Salisbury. "We realized that wasn't going to go very far, so we decided to leverage that by applying for another $20,000.

"We're going to focus on temporary public art in neighborhoods that are lacking in public art now, like the West Side," she said.

* Approved a budget change needed to adjust staffing in several city departments.

City Collector Charlie Thompson will become director of Human Resources following the retirement of longtime director Judy King, City Manager David Molgaard said, and Molgaard assistant Amanda Rutledge will become assistant director.

Also, Tonya Cotton will serve as interim city collector. A 10-year city employee, she has been the B&O tax supervisor in the 14-person collector's office.

* Got a first look at a proposed bond issue of up to $11.6 million by the Charleston Sanitary Board. The bonds would pay for improvements to the sanitary sewers in the Lick Branch/South Ruffner area, which are expected to start this year.

While the revenue bonds would be paid off by sewer customers through their monthly sewer bills, no rate increases are expected as a result of this bond issue, Mayor Danny Jones said.

Reach Jim Balow at balow@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5102.


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