The city of Kokomo is in the process of adding overflow parking and “no parking signs” to Championship Park in hopes to alleviate parking issues that have arisen since the ballpark opened for play earlier this year.
Torrey Roe, Kokomo parks superintendent, said Tuesday at the monthly Park Board meeting that construction on one of two overflow parking lots is expected to be complete by the end of this week, weather permitting, with construction on the other beginning shortly thereafter.
One of the additional parking lots will be located just to the right of the park’s Goyer Road entrance, while the other will be located further east down Veterans Memorial Drive by the park’s smaller ball diamonds. The latter overflow lot is the one that could be done by the end of this week.
The two overflow parking lots will add a combined 202 park spaces. Currently, there are 365 total parking spaces in the park.
While there is plenty of parking space, Roe said some visitors are deciding to park their vehicles on Veterans Memorial Drive instead of in a parking space, which is creating traffic jams when people are coming and going.
“Parking on the road has created a problem,” Roe said. “Part of that, I would say, is not everyone goes to the parking lots. I was out there (Championship Park) last night watching games and the road is filling up, and I pull in the parking lot, I have no problem finding a parking spot. ... I think it’s more convenient and they think it’s closer to park on the road than it is to park in the parking lot and walk.”
To combat this issue, Roe said the city is planning on placing “No parking signs” along Veterans Memorial Drive. The overflow parking lots could also help alleviate the issue by offering more parking opportunities if the parking lot nearest the ballpark they need to go to is full.
Striping on the road has also recently been completed, and Roe said he hopes that will tell visitors that this is a thoroughfare road and not a possible parking space.
Additionally, the city plans on placing a “Veterans Memorial Parking Only” by the parking lot of the nearby Howard County Veterans Memorial. Since the opening of Championship Park, some visitors have been parking in the memorial’s few parking spaces when those spaces are supposed to be reserved for people visiting the memorial.
“I will say the same thing about a sign as I say about a lock: It only works with honest people,” Roe said, adding that the city is considering instructing police to write citations if people continue to park on the road even after no parking signs are put up. “We want to give everybody at least the opportunity to hit the overflow parking lots.”
Construction of Championship Park is nearing its end. All ballparks are now constructed and all that’s left is the “final touches,” Roe said, such as interior work of the maintenance building and some grading and grass seeding.
“We’re close,” Roe said of completing construction of the park. “I’ve said for the last week and half that I can start to see the light at the end of the tunnel.”