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The trustees of Trinity United Methodist Church were not happy when they read in the newspaper that the City of Riverside wanted to split the cost of nine parking spaces on the street in front of the church.
The city proposed the church and the city each pay half the $10,106 cost for paving the parking spaces. In addition, the city wanted the church to remove trees along the street while the city would pay to have the stumps removed.
Trustee George Gerot told the City Council Monday night: “This is unacceptable to the trustees.”
From the church’s perspective, the city owes them money for damage caused by storm water that has previously flooded the church.
“We have fought water issues for several years now,” said Karen Zimmerman, chairwoman of the trustees.
The trustees offered to pay 25 percent of the cost of the parking spaces.
Council members did not want to retreat from the 50-50 split on the costs.
“I think sticking with the 50 percent for both is what we should do,” said council member Tom Sexton.
That was the same deal that was offered to the Sorden-Lewis Funeral Home. The funeral home would get six spaces and would split the $6,480 cost with the city.
Several council members said that they wanted to be fair and offer the same deal for everybody.
“We see it as you are being discriminatory; you are being unfair to us,” Gerot countered, noting the money the church had spent on storm water damage that he claimed was caused by improperly designed city projects up the hill from the church. “We do not feel we have been treated equally.”
In the end, Mayor Allen Schneider proposed a compromise: keep the 50-50 cost split on the parking spaces, but the city would reimburse the church for the tree removal, which could be $1,500 or more.
Gerot and Zimmerman said they would take the proposal back to the church trustees. The issue will be back on the council agenda for its May 1 meeting.
The council also scheduled a work session for Monday, April 24, at 6:30 p.m. to discuss light poles for the streetscape area along Highway 22. While the light poles will not be installed until a later phase, MMS Consultants engineer Scott Pottorff said the bases would be installed with the current project and the anchor bolt patterns could be different depending on the pole design.
The council will also discuss other decorative aspects of the Second Street and Washburn Street project at the meeting.