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Wednesday, 27 June 2007 00:00

Waynesville building fits well with downtown

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A government building for a mountain town that looks like it belongs in the mountains? Funny how that is going to work out for the town of Waynesville but never could come to fruition for Haywood County and the justice center that now dominates Waynesville’s Main Street.

Waynesville leaders got their first look two weeks ago at the designs for the new police station and town offices, and the design is stunning. It incorporates downtown Waynesville’s traditional red brick with the Appalachian features of stacked stone and exposed wood. By using other architectural tools, it will blend in with the much-older town hall across the street.

That’s exactly what many in Haywood County sought when HLM architects of Florida were designing the new justice center under the watch of county commissioners five years ago. When you pay architects hundreds of thousands of dollars, you want originality and flair. Instead, as has been well-noted, Haywood was sold an off-the-shelf exterior that was an obvious re-drawing of similar projects the firm had done in Florida.

The justice center is growing on most folks, and its obvious interior efficiencies and up-to-date features are certainly appreciated by users. And most people are certainly pleased that the county is taking care in its re-design of the historic courthouse, protecting the integrity of that architectural gem.

At the end of the day, though, the new justice center certainly comes up lacking in its exterior look. It’s blocky, stodgy and just not in scale with the downtown area.

Waynesville has some work to do to cut the price on its new building, but we like the look and the attempt to build something that reflects our community and culture.

 

Parking tickets a good idea

Speaking of downtown Waynesville, the current police effort to curb all-day parking by writing citations after three hours is long overdue.

As in many downtowns large and small, parking is at a premium in the vicinity of Main Street. Most businesses depend on walk-in traffic to make a living. Therefore trying to keep people from parking all day in a spot that could be used by a customer is necessary.

The truth is that there is plenty of all-day, free parking for employees and business owners close to Main Street. Whether it’s on Wall Street, the public lot on Montgomery Street, the parking deck or elsewhere, there are plenty of spots to go around. And the meager penalty of $5 is less than the cost of parking in a lot in most towns, so anyone who may get cited really doesn’t have reason to get too mad.

It’s not too much to ask of anybody to hoof it a half block to their workplace. And that’s really the crux of the problem, workers parking downtown. For them, $5 a day is enough pain to hopefully convince them to park elsewhere.

The fine is at the level that will not make downtown’s customers too mad while discouraging workers from being too lazy to park elsewhere. Keep the tickets coming.

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