Fort Mill Times

Businesses are coming to downtown Fort Mill. More customers? Time for more parking.

Fort Mill is creating new parking spaces in response to a growing downtown business area. New restaurants, retailers and other shops have set up on Main Street in recent years.
Fort Mill is creating new parking spaces in response to a growing downtown business area. New restaurants, retailers and other shops have set up on Main Street in recent years. Fort Mill Times file photo

More parking is heading downtown, pending town approval of a proposal to build it.

Town-owned land beside Veterans Park, at the bottom of Main Street, would become a gravel lot just beside the existing paved lot at the park. The lot would be situated between North White Street and the railroad tracks at the bottom of Main.

The new parking spaces are in response to a growing downtown business area. New restaurants, retailers and other shops have set up on Main Street in recent years. Ongoing projects will bring more, including redevelopment of nearly a quarter of Main’s frontage. The area will welcome The Improper Pig, Southern Sugar Cafe and Amor Artis Brewing, among them.

Parking already is tight, with some to the rear of storefronts on either side of Main. Town leaders have discussed possible parking solutions, up to someday switching Main to a one-way street to increase parking along it. The nearer-term solution came in expanding parking near Veterans Park. The site already is used for parking at large events, like the South Carolina Strawberry Festival or at public gatherings at the park.

Making the new lot gravel would decrease runoff compared to a paved lot, with a steep embankment right beside the area leading to the railroad tracks, officials said.

Because the site is in Fort Mill’s historic district, the new lot requires approval from the town’s historic review board. That group is scheduled to meet to discuss it Thursday afternoon, though the meeting could be affected by any weather-related town office closings.

According to the application submitted by the town, the lot would be temporary, but could become permanent if and until “such time that a permanent town facility is constructed on the site.” The two properties involved run along the railroad tracks all the way from North White to Clebourne streets, up to the Founders Federal Credit Union and Fort Mill Dentistry sites.

The concept plan submitted by the town doesn’t show or state how many new parking spaces would be provided with the new lot.

In another move to serve businesses along Main Street, the town applied to build a new dumpster enclosure. That move also requires historic review board approval. The enclosure would be on a corner of the lot on Confederate Street, just behind several businesses on Main. The new enclosure would mean taking out three parking spaces.

The enclosure would be brick with steel frame gates in front, wood screening fence in back. The review board will look at that plan, too, on Thursday.

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