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Mason City council approves parking permit district for street near MercyOne

MASON CITY — The City Council in Mason City this week unanimously approved establishing a parking permit district in the 700 block of 3rd Southwest between South Crescent and South Jackson.

A petition was submitted with the signatures of numerous residents in that area asking for permit parking to be in effect weekdays between 9:30 AM and 3:30 PM. The petition states that employees and patrons of MercyOne, the Mason City Clinic and the Mason City Surgery Center are parking on the street, preventing residents from being able to park in front of their homes, as well as impacting things like garbage pickup and city snow plows clearing the street.

Jim Ewalt headed up the petition, which was signed by 77-percent of the affected residents. He says people are having problems traveling on the street safely, which includes backing out of their driveways.  “I almost got hit backing out, and I’m lucky to have an alarm system on my car that beeped and I stopped, otherwise I probably would have got taken down the street. The mailman came to me and he almost got hit head-on one day, it was here just before Christmas, and I said, ‘what’s going on’, and said ‘well there you are, everybody’s parking on the street’.”

Chad Kliven says he’s worried about the safety of the neighborhood and his kids.  “Now I’ve got a one-year-old, a three-year-old, and a twelve-year-old, they all play in that area. If a ball went out in the road, you know the standard following the road-kid gets hit by a car, well we could make a commercial out of that street.  The safety issue, the fire department coming down there, ambulances, if somebody gets injured, there’s a lot of problems with that street, and I really hope you guys consider listening to us.”

Duane Stansbury has lived in the neighborhood for 47 years and says the traffic situation has never been this bad.  “It never fails, I back out of my driveway, somebody comes flying around that corner. Why they can’t go down and around 1st Street and make the curve I don’t understand, because they come up to Jackson and they go north back to 1st Street again, why they do this I don’t know. It really makes it a bad situation because every time I back out of my driveway, there’s somebody coming around the corner and they’re not doing it slowly.”

Joann Mumby was the only resident in that area that spoke out against the permit process.  “The reputation of the person that started this petition is just kind of unchristian I think. I think people are entitled to park in public parking and go to their job with all this stress. I know Mercy is working on the parking details, they’re always talking about the parking. I don’t think we should all have to run and get a permit to park on a public street, and that street is not that narrow to get a car down the middle of the road.”

There are currently four other parking permit districts in Mason City, with three of those being in the MercyOne area.

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