Editorial: Jerome has done admirable job turning problems into opportunities
Parking has always been a supply-and-demand problem for Jerome. On a busy weekend, you can spend more time finding a place to park than you can enjoying all the good things the town has to offer.
For decades, the posture of the Jerome Town Council had been to kick the proverbial can down the road when trying to find a solution to the mountainside community’s shortage of parking.
Given Jerome’s popularity, and the reality of the town having what is basically a three-day-a-week economic cycle, parking is always going to be a problem in Jerome.
But in the past year, we’ve seen the new Jerome Town Council led by Mayor Alex Barber turn this longstanding problem into an opportunity. The biggest change in the past year has been the introduction of paid-parking kiosks. Requiring visitors to pay to park isn’t a solution to the town’s parking woes, but, rather, it created a new revenue flow for the town that will be dedicated exclusively to shoring up Jerome’s antiquated infrastructure.
That, by the way, was another can previously and continually kicked down the road in Jerome.
It’s not just an effort to make the supply-and-demand realities of parking in Jerome a cash cow for the town, but, the council has been continually working to find ways to make more parking available for both residents and tourists alike.
For example, in the past year, the town opened up the former public works yard to permit-only parking for 25 vehicles. The town has prioritized the free parking spots to residents of Clark Street and certain other areas of town where residential parking simply does not exist.
Next Tuesday, council members will continue their work to make the town more parking friendly for residents, business owners and tourists. Among the items the town will discuss Dec. 10 is the possibility of purchasing or leasing certain private properties for use as public parking. The town also will continue discussion on its new Parking Overlay District. Finally, the council will delve further into the option of offering prepaid parking passes for the paid parking areas in town.
What’s been especially encouraging about this new council in Jerome has been its ability to take on tough issues, make hard decisions and refrain from kicking the can down the road.
Most importantly, they’ve set a high bar for other local governments to follow in terms of turning a problem into an opportunity.
What we’re seeing in Jerome is government at its best.