City of Union

The city of Union has been receiving complaints about activity at the commuter parking lot it maintains at First Baptist Church.

“We have a few different groups of people that are hanging out there for extended periods of time,” City Administrator Jonathan Zimmermann said at the board of aldermen meeting Monday, Nov. 9. 

Alderman Paul Arand questioned whether it would be the city’s responsibility to handle the people at the lot.

“I know it’s a commuter lot, but we don’t own the lot. We just maintain it,” he said. “So, is it our responsibility to take care of, or is it the owner’s, who owns the lot, responsibility to take care of?”

The city’s use requirements in its agreement with the church are not specific on the issue, Zimmermann said. But with the agreement coming up for renewal, he suggested that aldermen discuss the issue further at an upcoming committee meeting.

“It doesn’t really say that you can’t loiter there, so we think the best solution is to put it in committee and discuss the issue,” he said. “And maybe present some solutions to it.”

The most active area in the parking lot has typically been a dark corner away from streetlights, Alderman Brian Pickard said.

“The kids have been hanging out there for years,” he said.

Around 20 cars use the lot each workday, according to Assistant City Administrator James Schmieder.

Police plan to patrol the area more often, officials said.

Along with commuter parking, the city uses the First Baptist Church lot for the Union Farmers’ Market in warmer months. The market had been held Saturday mornings but recently moved to Friday afternoons.

The parking lot is just west of First Baptist Church, located northwest of the intersection of Highways 50 and 47.

In 2012, the city agreed to resurface the commuter portion of the lot and the lot used for church parking, as well as remove snow, patch holes, clean trash and insure the property, in exchange for the church allowing the commuter lot, according to Missourian archives. 

The city also is responsible for maintaining driveways and entrances for the lot, including the one off Highway 50 and the one off Main Street, by Walgreens, according to the 2012 agreement.

The city agreed to “slurry seal” the lot at the time, costing around $34,000.