Some discussion about parking around the Marshall County Courthouse was brought up during Wednesday’s Marshall County Commission meeting.
Marshall County District 2 Commissioner Rick Watson said he’d received several calls from people who live in the county who are not happy about county vehicles being parked in front of the Courthouse. The front of the courthouse refers to the parking spaces along Gunter Avenue.
“I’ve had several people ask me why there are so many county cars parked in front of the Courthouse taking up spots,” Watson said. “The people complaining say that there’s not enough parking as it is. Is there anyway we can make it to where county vehicles don’t park in front of the Courthouse?”
Watson’s question brought up some debate as to where Marshall County sheriff’s deputies should park. There is a sheriff’s deputy on duty throughout the day inside the Courthouse. The deputy’s car can usually be spotted in front of the Courthouse. Marshall County Sheriff Phil Sims said that’s for a reason.
“When people see a deputy’s car parked close to the Courthouse, it makes them feel safe and it makes anyone wanting to cause a problem think twice about it,” he said. “Also, if there’s a situation like an active shooter, the deputy is close to his car if he needs anything. Most Courthouses throughout the state have designated spots for law enforcement. I do think we need something like that.”
Sheriff Sims also said, “I haven’t had anyone call me about parking issues though. So, if any of you commissioners do receive calls, I feel like you should let me know. I understand how people could get upset with there not being enough parking but deputies need to be close to the Courthouse.”
Marshall County District 1 Commissioner Ronny Shumate suggested an area where two law enforcement parking spots could be placed.
“I think it’d be best to designate two spots next to the ‘Inspection Only’ parking spots on the side of the Courthouse,” he said. “That way, there’s a series of spots where people can’t park. I agree with Phil, the deputies do need to be seen parked close to the courthouse.”
The spots Shumate was referring to are located in the side parking lot of the Courthouse along Taylor Street.
No decision to designate two new spaces as law enforcement only was made during the regular meeting.