By Kent Larsen
LDS Church Proposes Street Closing in Pocatello
POCATELLO, IDAHO -- Its not Salt Lake City, but The Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter-day Saints has proposed closing another street -- this time in
Pocatello, Idaho. But this proposal has been much less controversial than
the purchase and closing of a block-long stretch of Main Street in Salt Lake
City. In fact, it is leading to serious discussions among the Church's
neighbors in downtown Pocatello and the city planning officials on how to
solve the basic problem -- parking.
The difficulty arises because the LDS Church's 33,000 square foot building
located on the south side of Caldwell Park has just 38 parking spaces for
the 2,150 members that use the building. Currently members park, by
arrangement in the lot of the Super Save Drug store next door, which then
uses the Church's small parking lot during the week for employee parking.
Church members also use nearby parking at the Bannock County Courthouse.
But the Church worries that a lack of adequate parking near the building
will create liability if someone is injured getting to the church, so it
proposed closing a block long stretch of South Seventh Avenue, located
between the Church building and Caldwell Park, to create a parking lot.
But Super Save, other neighboring businesses and county commissioners are
opposing the plan. Super Save worries that closing South Seventh would
divert traffic to South Sixth Avenue in front of the store, making it more
difficult for patrons to cross the street to get to the store. County
officials say that closing South Seventh wouldn't address the Courthouse's
parking needs, which currently spill over into Super Save's parking lot.
But at a 1 1/2-hour meeting Monday, representatives of the Church, Super
Save, county, city and affected businesses sat down to work on the problem.
As a result of the meeting, the parties agreed that the city will draw up
preliminary design plans as a basis for an alternative agreement. The plans
would allow the group to see if creating perpendicular parking along many of
the neighboring streets and possibly closing South Sixth Avenue between
Center and Lewis to create a community parking lot.
Closing South Seventh?
Pocatello ID State Journal 15May01 B1
By Sean Ellis: Journal Writer