Tree lawn parking has become one of the most controversial issues that I have dealt with in my tenure in city service. The City of Ravenna's current administration has been dealing with the issue of parking on the tree lawns for over a year now. I feel it is the responsibility of this administration to clean up the appearance of the city and to enforce the laws regarding how city properties are maintained. It is my longterm objective to clean up and beautify Ravenna, to make it a better place to live and work.
Tree lawn parking legislation is not new and was put into law by the Ravenna City Council in 1994. Tree lawn parking is only one of the areas of legislation that we have been working on in the last two years. Other areas in which the city's building department is also enforcing are the exterior maintenance of properties, including peeling painting, junk cars, trash and general disrepair of residential homes. This does not include the significant challenge to enforce the city's rental code with a nearly 70 percent rental rate.
We agree residential and even sometimes commercial parking can be difficult within our city, specifically in areas developed when automobiles were less prevalent. We agree transportation needs have changed and our neighborhoods sometimes struggle. Our intention and recommendation to council is not to prohibit tree lawn parking completely.
We also understand there are times in which it is the only option -- that is why we have tried to find a solution by making recommendations to city council on a process/policy to permit tree lawn parking.
We feel for the most part tree lawn parking has become a habit out of convenience not necessity. This process/policy is intended to flush out the difference. Our recommendation for our city is not to permit convenience tree lawn parking, as spelled out in our current city legislation. We intend to permit tree lawn parking when it is proven a necessity.
We must return our downtown and neighborhoods into inviting, safe and well-maintained places to do business and raise our families. We need your support to meet our long term objective of a welcoming and nice-looking city.
I would encourage you to contact the City Hall or attend the 6:30 p.m. Monday city council public hearing at Ravenna City Hall to encourage the continuation of no tree lawn and front yard parking.
Joseph Bica, Ravenna mayor and director of public safety