FARMINGTON — Town officials plan to enter into a two-year lease with Franklin County to open up the Anson Street parking lot to overnight parking in an effort to alleviate a parking shortage downtown.

“Essentially it will allow for 24/7 use of the lot and allow us to be able to move a lot of overnight parking from the Church Street lot and open that up,” Farmington Town Manager Richard Davis said.

The lease comes about as a solution to a shortage of parking downtown that Davis has said is a result, at least in part, of the August 2017 move of Origin USA, a jiujitsu apparel manufacturer with about 40 employees, to downtown. The move has brought an influx of workers looking for parking spots.

The town will not have to pay to lease the lot, but it will become responsible for snow removal and maintenance, County Clerk Julie Magoon said. She estimated there are about 40 spots in the lot.

“We have our own parking alongside the courthouse, so it will not affect the county,” she said.

However, the Anson Street lot is used by potential jurors when juries are picked, so the town will have to resolve any conflict on those days with the county court, she said.

Pete Roberts, president of Origin USA, did not respond to a phone call requesting comment Tuesday afternoon. However, at least one downtown business owner said parking is a problem and applauded the decision to open up the Anson Street lot overnight.

“I know there is a parking issue downtown and that parking is an issue for tenants who live downtown,” said Cheri Tompkins, a downtown landlord and owner of the Pins & Needles embroidery shop on Main Street. Tompkins said many of the Origin workers arrive early in the day and use all the spots in the Church Street lot, often before 6 a.m.

“That would be awesome,” she said of the move to open up the Anson Street lot to overnight parking. “It would help with a lot of the issues we have.”

She said town officials also should look at doing the same for the Front Street parking lot across from Meeting House Park. Most town-owned lots now are closed to overnight parking in the winter, although there are a few exceptions.

“People should be able to park there overnight in the winter,” Tompkins said. “(To close parking) from November to April, that’s kind of crazy because we don’t have storms that whole length of time.”

Terms of the lease have not been finalized, but Davis said officials are planning to have it take effect May 1. It also might require Town Meeting approval, as the town would be dedicating some resources to snow removal and maintenance.

“I need to verify that, but it probably will,” Davis said.

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

[email protected]

Twitter: @rachel_ohm

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