To the editor:
It appears that cooperation among Oberlin College, the city, the fire chief and the planning commission may have brought us closer to a plan that will support merchants on East College Street as well as guarantee safety to room guests at the Oberlin Inn.
The conflict between the need for fire access to the new four story Gateway Project and adequate parking for our downtown merchants has been stubborn and prolonged.
A special meeting of the planning commission moved past blaming one or more players to a number of creative solutions offered by the city administration and members of the commission. New fire chief Bob Hanmer helped the audience to appreciate why and how his men and women need unobstructed access to the building in the event of an emergency.
Several at the meeting held out hope for some sort of parking structure. Most promising was the city’s proposal for additional parallel parking along the north side of East College Street. Everyone agreed that more effective signage could direct drivers to under-utilized spaces beyond the First Merit lot and behind the Apollo.
Whatever develops, and I believe a compromise solution is at hand, the meeting was Oberlin at its best — seeking solutions to a stubborn problem together.
Sharon Fairchild Soucy
Vice President, Oberlin City Council