Simpsonville is adding parking downtown to accommodate steadily growing activity in the area.
City Council approved a 10-year lease agreement with Temple Baptist Church on June 8 to use a lot on its property for public parking. City Administrator Dianna Gracely said the city and church finalized the agreement June 9 and the grassy area at the intersection of West Trade Street and South Maple Street can now be used for public parking.
The lease will cost $1,000 a month. The city will pay $650 of that and the Warehouse at Vaughn's across the street, which has drawn considerable traffic to downtown since it opened late last year, will pay the other $350.
Gracely said the lot can be used for public parking effective immediately. The city plans to put gravel down using in-house labor. Once the gravel is in place, the lot will contain roughly 60 spots, Gracely told the council.
Shortly after Warehouse at Vaughn's opened, patrons began using the church's property for parking without permission and Temple Baptist cordoned the area off with ropes. Those ropes will be taken down now that the agreement is in place.
Gracely said the lease agreement is the product of several months of negotiation and will make local businesses in downtown more accessible.
Mayor Paul Shewmaker said ahead of the June 8 vote that providing adequate parking is essential as interest in Simpsonville's city center grows.
"I think people tend to look at parking as being dead space. It is not," he said. "It is extremely important for making our little town go."