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Marietta Parking Lot Focus of Council Discussion

Options to shield nearby homes from headlights on parking lot could boost landscape costs.

Different options for a wall that is to be built along the drew a lot of attention from Maplewood City Council at a meeting on Tuesday night.

Council members wrangled over concepts and costs, prompting City Manager Marty Corcoran to redirect their attention back to the joint presentation by Frontenac Engineering and DeLong Landscape Architecture.

At issue were design elements that could beautify but boost overall project costs, while shielding residents’ homes on Marietta Avenue from headlights of those who will park on the redesigned lot. The wall would be placed between the parking lot and Marietta Avenue.

Possible shields included natural, sustainable screens of trees and shrubbery, brick and/or concrete walls, fencing (about 400 feet of it ), and decorative panels to hang on fencing. 

Six landscape options were presented varying in scope and cost from approximately $81,000 to $263,000. All are preliminary concepts. 

Council members also aired their opinions, pro and con, about the necessity of including two sets of stairs rather than ramps to provide access to the lot from the sidewalk. Clearly more discussion was warranted and a work session for council members is scheduled later this month.

However, the conversation took an interesting twist when Ward 3 Councilman Barry Greenberg suggested that the Marietta parking lot become a model of sustainability.

The redesigned lot—which uses pervious asphalt—will feature green elements, and Greenberg aims to take that a step further. Pervious asphalt allows rainwater to percolate into the soil and reduce runoff. 

“We already have the beginning for the potential of an extremely green parking lot,” said Greenberg, an architect who championed the city’s . 

Greenberg saw the redesigned parking lot, which is in his ward, to be more than utilitarian and envisioned other environmentally-friendly options, such as installing electrical vehicle charging stations and LED lights in it.    

These thoughts prompted Ward 1 Councilman David Cerven to query Greenberg if he intended to make the parking lot a “destination” site.  

“That comment was meant to neither be for or against it,” said Cerven after the meeting. “I’ve got no problem with the lot being an example of sustainability. I wanted a clarification of what we want the lot to be. There is a big price tag for sustainability."

“Mr. Greenberg has a lot of great ideas which were not part of the original plan,” Cerven said.

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