Fallout from the no ballpark parking sign dispute elicited anger from one alderman, challenged a second alderman on where he parks weekdays and sent a third alderman reminiscing about busy days on St. Louis Street.
Austin Myers, the Catawissa resident and PYA patron, who complained about the no ballpark parking signs on south Fifth and West Meramec streets returned to address aldermen at the Dec. 18 board meeting, asking them to state publicly whether they endorse discrimination.
Alderman Mike Bates said he deeply resents being accused of discrimination, minutes before he voted to formalize the no ballpark parking signs by placing them on the schedule of city signs.
Myers received a more subdued response when he raised the question of Alderman Jerry Eversmeyer parking all day on St. Louis Street, even though there is an ordinance on the books limiting parking there to two hours.
Eversmeyer said he’s aware of the ordinance, but it could only be enforced when signs calling for two-hour parking are up. Eversmeyer said he parked on the lot next to the video store when the two-hour parking signs were in place, but when the signs came down he parked on the street.
Alderman Brad Reed, who operates a business on St. Louis Street, said the signs were taken down when St. Louis Street was improved and never put back up after the work was finished.
“But you knew there was an ordinance on the books, didn’t you?” Myers pressed Eversmeyer.
“You know you came down pretty hard on me when I questioned the no ballpark parking signs,” Myers said.
“I knew when the signs said two-hour parking, I abided by the signs,” Eversmeyer responded.
Ward 1 Alderman Ed Gass said it was probably an oversight that the signs were not put back up after the street improvements were finished. Gass also said the signs had been there for as long as he could remember.
“Two-hour parking made sense there at one time,” Gass said. “If you tried to park on St. Louis Street there would be cars in front of Kroger’s and Wolf Hardware. There was a drug store, two shoe stores and two more grocery stores. The signs had probably been there since I was a kid.
“We had an old police chief who would go down and walk along and chalk the tires,” Gass continued. “He’d come back in a couple of hours to see if there were any cars there. He used to write some parking tickets.
“There used to be four or five tellers at the bank and a line of customers,” Gass added. “But computers took that away.”
There is not a parking problem on St. Louis Street today, Gass stressed.
“But if we get an increase in business, which is what we’ve been hoping for, then you could run into a parking problem,” he said.
Mayor Herb Adams instructed the staff to put the two-hour parking signs back up on St. Louis Street.