One has to give City of Vernon staff credit for considering public perceptions when it came to recommending a gravel parking lot at 30th Avenue and 29th Street.
After all, some residents would be upset to see a major investment on pavement and landscaping — $419,000 — ripped up when the 25th Avenue extension occurs. So from that perspective, sticking with gravel, and a $270,000 price tag, makes sense.
However, we must keep in mind that this lot, once the New Delhi building is demolished, is on a high-profile corner in the heart of downtown. Next to it are the library, Tolko’s head office and the Nixon Wenger building — all major investments.
Coun. Juliette Cunningham fears the reaction from residents and visitors as they travel along 30th Avenue and come across a gravel lot.
“It looks good and then they hit an ugly parking lot,” she said.
There is also the reality that gravel parking lots come with a price beyond the initial installation. Regular grading should occur to address potholes, while vehicles will pick up rocks and dirt, which will be deposited on adjacent roads and that has to be cleaned up.
Currently, there is no firm timeline for the 25th Avenue extension, except for possibly within the next decade. Essentially, it’s a project that could be put off forever.
Given that, it makes sense to proceed with a paved and landscaped lot that fits in with the other upgrades downtown. Council made the right decision.