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Gainesville City Council members approved an additional $10,000 on Tuesday evening, Jan. 7, to help pay for extra downtown parking.

The approved funding was an amendment to a previous resolution that was passed in May 2019 to allow Mayor Jim Goldsworthy to execute an agreement with First United Methodist Church, 214 S. Denton St., to reconstruct the parking lot at the northwest corner of East Pecan and South Denton streets.

The city was to contribute $25,000 when the resolution was first approved May 7, 2019.

City Manager Barry Sullivan explained to city council members Tuesday that Ron Sellman, the director of public works, spoke with church officials about the need to reinforce the parking lot to ensure it could withstand the weight of the city’s trash trucks.

The church asked for an additional $10,000, as well as waiver of a permit fee, Sullivan said.

Debbie Faulkner, the church’s business administrator, said Wednesday, Jan. 8, that FUMC does not have a confirmed construction start date yet. She said they anticipate it will begin in the spring.

Sullivan estimated the parking lot would cost $111,000.

According to the amended agreement, the city will pay $35,000 of the cost to repair or rebuild the parking lot and to demolish and haul off debris from the church-owned property.

In turn, FUMC will repave the lot per city code with concrete and allow the public, including people who attend Butterfield Stage events, to park there except on Wednesday evenings and Sundays. The contract also states the church will allow the city to drive a trash truck across the parking lot to collect waste from the Butterfield Stage dumpster.

In addition, parking on the church’s lot will not be permitted during special church events. The city will be given three days’ notice for those events, the agreement says.

Ward 3 Councilman Keith Clegg was absent during Tuesday’s meeting in the Municipal Building, 200 S. Rusk St. During the May 2019 meeting, Ward 6 Councilwoman Mary Jo Dollar was absent.

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