Medina will do parking study of downtown as demand expected to increase

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 May 2021 at 10:44 am

Village will take overall look at parking after request for ADA parking spot by Bent’s Opera House

Photos by Tom Rivers: As Bent’s Opera House prepares to open its doors to the public, following a major restoration of the building, the owner of the site has requested a designated ADA parking space in front of the building, near the traffic light on Main Street.

MEDINA – The Village Board is going to review the overall parking availability and layout in the downtown after a request for an ADA-designated parking spot on Main Street in front of Bent’s Opera House.

This would be the fifth ADA spot on Main Street, north of the Center Street intersection. However, the other four spots are a block or more away down the street.

Bent’s is expecting to draw big crowds for a new restaurant, events center and boutique hotel. Bent’s has a designated spot behind the building on Proctor Place.

Bent’s Opera House would like the parking spot on the left to be designated as an ADA spot for people with mobility issues. The lines for the spot would need to be painted blue with a sign near the curb noting the parking space.

But that is far for people to walk with mobility issues or who are in wheelchairs, said Charlie Spencer, project manager with LeChase Construction, which has worked more than two years on the restoration of the Bent’s Opera House.

Spencer requested the ADA spot last week during the Village Board meeting. Board members said there would likely be backlash from other Main Street businesses who don’t want to see another spot be designated for handicapped accessible only.

Owen Toale, a trustee on the board, said the spot would be good for Bent’s and for Medina. However, he said some people will see another ADA spot as a net loss of one parking spot in a downtown that has been on a resurgence in recent years.

Spencer said the parking spot will be a net gain for Medina, putting one near the four corners where the two biggest roads intersect.

Not having a spot there will be a turnoff for many people who come to Bent’s and other attractions in Medina, but can’t park  close to their destination, Spencer said.

“There are handicapped people coming to this community,” Spencer told the Village Board. “There is a need for it.”

Trustee Jess Marciano said she took an informal count of vehicles with handicapped accessible tags and said there were far more than she expected.

Lionel Heydel, the chef for the new restaurant to open at Bent’s, also attended the meeting. He Bent’s will have heated sidewalks during the winter, providing a “clean sidewalk” that will be less likely to be slippery than other sidewalks.

The ambitious restoration of Bent’s is nearly complete. Roger Hungerford has led the development of the project.

“I’m thinking the opera house will bring in a ton of people into the village,” Spencer said. “We want to be welcoming to everyone.”

Mayor Mike Sidari said the demand for parking is a good issue for Medina to wrestle with.

“A parking problem is when you have nobody parking on Main Street,” Toale said.

The Village Board opted not to decide on the ADA parking spot yet for Bent’s, until looking at the overall parking availability in the downtown, including the municipal lots and on-street spaces.

The mayor said the public may also need to adjust its expectations and be willing to walk a little farther. He said when people go to the mall or the big box stores, they walk far from the lot to the store, and they have to move through cavernous interiors of those buildings.

Bent’s also is paying to put pull-off spots on West Center Street by Bent’s where people can safely exit and enter vehicles by the building. Those spots aren’t for parking, just for quickly dropping off or picking up passengers for a vehicle.