Mansfield Business owner Stan Deer spoke out on Friday, November 20, after the council voted unanimously to move forward with the elimination of parking spaces on the north side of Howard Street.
“We didn’t even know about it,” stated Deer. “I heard about it two-three hours before the meeting, from an individual.” Deer stated that none of the other businesses knew about it either. Deer reached out to a council member before Thursday’s meeting. “They listened, but it seemed like the decision was already made…I asked why businesses had not been notified, they responded ‘I don’t know?'”
The council initially discussed closing off the section of parking during the October meeting. However, in Thursday’s meeting, the council decided to push forward with the plan. “There is only space for two vehicles…I have heard reports that a couple of businesses are unhappy about it, but it is very hazardous…The highway department agreed to it, and pushed for it, actually,” Mayor Black stated. “Some people are disgruntled about and it is unfortunate they couldn’t be here because of social distancing and the limited seating. If you all (speaking to the council) want to wait until these people can attend the meeting and voice their concerns…it’s up to you…if you want to proceed with it, or put a stop to it, you can do either one.” (see related story)
Deer stated that he was actually denied access to the meeting and was told by a council member that it was “due to concerns over COVID.” He went on to add that in his 34 years in business, he cannot recall a single accident. “The Mayor has stated in the meeting that he has seen people almost get ran over from his office, where I have a better viewpoint and have never seen it.”
The removal of those spaces, according to Deer, will affect his business. “Of course it will effect our business. That’s the only place to park for larger vehicles to access my store and others,” Deer added. The Parts City owner went on to add that the city should remember that the tax dollars from businesses support the town.
The city is currently awaiting the signage from the Arkansas Highway Department.