Paris selectmen vote to make town lot into public parking

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PARIS — A disputed lot behind the old fire station will become a public parking lot, alleviating the concerns of both the prospective buyers of the station and of current Market Square business owners.

At the Jan. 14 meeting, the board discussed a request by Terry and Sandy Swett of Swett Signs in North Bridgton, who are negotiating to buy the station from the town and to lease parking spaces in the adjacent lot to ensure there is available parking.

The Swetts plan to move their sign business into the lower level and convert the upper level into an event center for weddings and business meetings.

Market Square Restaurant owners Scott and Tisha Gilbert were in attendance. Scott Gilbert said restaurant customers sometimes parked in the town lot, which is behind his restaurant.

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Town Manager Amy Bernard suggested making the lot, which has served as public parking, into an official town parking lot. She suggested signage indicating it would be closed between midnight and 5 a.m. in the winter to allow the town Highway Department to bring snow to the back of the lot.

“I think it’s a good compromise,” Bernard told the board.

The Swetts and the Gilberts were amenable to the plan. Scott Gilbert said he’d considered the lot a municipal parking area for years and just wanted to ensure that his customers had available parking.

“That’s the way we feel as well,” Terry Swett said.

The board voted unanimously to make the lot a municipal parking lot. Parking is barred between midnight and 5 a.m. from Nov. 1 to May 1 to make room for snow removal. Vehicles in violation will be towed at their owners’ expense.

treaves@sunjournal.com

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