ST. CLAIRSVILLE is the Belmont County seat. It is also a beehive of activity. Maybe too much activity.
The picturesque hilltop community appears to have one major problem in its downtown business section. That being a lack of parking.
The most recent complaints in that regard have been voiced by senior citizens, many of whom are finding it difficult to attend the senior center because of the parking congestion.
The issue is the result of several factors.
First, the courthouse parking lot has undergone work, yielding a loss of some spaces. The lot is permit-parking only, and with 140 permits issued and only about 50 available spots, it is easy to see why frustration results.
Moreover, the oil and gas boom has triggered an increased need for the courthouse, taking away more prime parking places.
Also, the St. C. Senior Center is a social oasis for residents from many surrounding communities, not just from St. Clairsville.
The lack of parking is a positive in one sense, as it reflects a spike in business, shopping and socializing in town. All good things.
But the lack of quality and convenient parking is a problem that needs addressed in a timely fashion. It is an issue not just centering on senior citizens, as downtown workers and businesses also feel the pinch.
Belmont County Commissioner Matt Coffland said the commissioners are making every effort to accommodate the needs of the senior citizens.
We don’t doubt that the county commissioners are addressing the parking issue. We urge them, however, to continue to explore all downtown parking expansion with a renewed sense of urgency.