Restaurant brings excitement and concerns over parking

Mellow Mushroom  Pizza Bakers is opening its doors in Paducah’s Coke Plant before the end of the year. Many are grateful for new development in the area, but others worry they won’t have anywhere to park to enjoy it.

Paducah Director of Planning Steve Ervin says in most cases, there’s a parking spot for every three seats. Under city zoning regulations the coke plant would have been required 176 parking spots on site. The city gave the Coke Plant a waiver in 2014, in the hopes of bringing growth to the area.

After years of work, Coke Plant owner Ed Musselman’s vision for this building is almost complete. "Bring excitement to an empty building," Musselman said. He says finding the perfect restaurant to bring into the coke plant is key to his project to revitalize the building.

"If we do that right and we assemble this properly, people will park where they find a spot, and they will find away to get here," Musselman said.

Sherry Newcomb, a customer at the hair salon across the street, was happy to hear the news. However, she does see one problem —parking.

"There’s just not enough space. There’s just not enough space," Newcomb said.

In 2014, city planning accepted Musselman’s request to waive parking regulations for his business. Ervin says enough parking was available on the streets surrounding the Coke Plant.

"If we weren’t flexible on parking requirements, there’s a lot of portions of the city that would have no new development," Ervin said.

The waiver says Coke Plant customers can park behind the building in it’s parking lot, which has about 55 spots. It also says the total nearby street parking on Labelle Avenue, Broadway Street and Jefferson Street is 61 cars. Musselman says on nights and weekends drivers can use the Independence Bank parking lot adjacent to the Coke Plant, which has about 57 parking spaces.

"If it brings people here to where there is parking congestion, hopefully every business in here is benefiting from that," he said. 

Musselman says he’ll address parking if it becomes an issue, but for now the restaurant is his priority. He says he is looking into some ideas for parking if it does become an issue once Mellow Mushroom opens. An opening date has not yet been set. 

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