Hastings City Council approved hourly parking restrictions on the 100 block of Third Street East in hopes of improving business parking, at its Oct. 21 meeting.

The new parking restrictions involve differing changes for each side. On the north side, parking will be restricted to two hours from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and no overnight parking on either side from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. No restrictions were placed on daytime parking for the street’s south side. The council also received an update on a Hastings Prescott Area Arts Council art and cultural plan and an overview of Levee Park Rotary Pavilion programming this year.

“The thought being here [is] that we balance the desire for folks that requested … getting more turnover to happen among parking … with perpetuating some longer term availability on the south side,” said Nick Egger, the city’s public works director.

The change comes after city staff received requests from the owners of the Armory Building and the Downtown Business Association to change the hours on the streets. The lack of parking restrictions have caused issues with limited access for tenants and customers and caused snow issues due to vehicles not moving, according to a letter sent to the city from Armory ownership.

The differing hours among the side of each street is because the north side features 10 stalls where the businesses face, Egger said. The south side features seven parking stalls.

Council member Lori Braucks asked if there were other streets with differing parking rules on each side and if there were other places for those people to park.

There are other streets with differing parking regulations on each side, Egger said. The police will plan on placing fliers on cars that aren’t initially following the new rules and include guidance on other parking options, said deputy police chief David Wilske.

“It’s kind of a parking Tetris puzzle the way it is, so I don’t want to create a situation where we have a problem in another area,” Braucks said.

Arts and culture plan

Brenda Kayzar, a consultant working with the Hastings Prescott Area Arts Council, provided council members with a presentation on developing an arts and cultural plan for the city.

“I hope this is going to become a familiar refrain: Hastings is art,” Kayzar said.

She said that the plan was funded by the St. Paul Foundation and provides guidance for the promotion of arts and detailed the economic impact of arts in communities.

Kayzar identified over 150 arts and culture people or organizations in the Hastings area, based on Bureau of Labor statistics. That follows up a 2017 Creative Minnesota study on Hastings that identified 16 arts and cultural organizations that estimated the economic impact at almost $2.4 million.

“So there’s a lot we don’t talk to economically when we talk about arts and culture,” she said. “There’s rent being paid, salaries … that’s what that arts and cultural plan is really trying to get at.”

The creation process of the plan continues Kayzar’s current work and will involve community engagement and social media outreach, before being compiled into a finished document by May 2020.