Council denies restauranteur’s plea for revised parking plan


By Miles Smith

Lockhart restauranteur Kent Black on Thursday asked city councilmembers to reconsider the parking for Hot Rods and Hatters.
Black, owner of Black’s Barbecue, expressed concerns about the street closures near his restaurant on North Main Street, saying he was worried about what it might do to his sales that weekend.
During the event, which runs Feb. 2-3 and will encompass all of Lockhart’s Historic District and most of the downtown area, parking for Black’s Barbecue will be located at St. Mary’s Catholic Church at 205 W. Pecan St. Additional parking for the restaurant will be located at the dead end of North Main Street.
“I’m asking about the 29 public parking spots right in front of Black’s that will be used for hot rods,” Black said. “I love hot rods, and I think Hot Rods and Hatters is good for Lockhart, but none of my customers are going to be able to drive down the street and park.”
Council listened patiently, but ultimately took no action.
Black acknowledged that it might be too late to consider changing the plan for this year’s event, but asked city council to at least consider doing things differently next year.
“Let’s be careful that this festival doesn’t get too big and shut down the town,” he said.
Mayor Lew White said he and City Manager Vance Rodgers had met with Black about his concerns prior to Thursday’s city council meeting.
“We hope the number of visitors we get to Lockhart for the event will support Black’s as well as our other businesses,” White said. “Hopefully, we’ll have a banner day.”
Mayor Pro Tem Angie Gonzales-Sanchez said it wouldn’t be impossible to reconsider the street closures, but said it wouldn’t be optimal so close to the event.
“But next year, maybe we can take into consideration Mr. Black’s recommendations for Hot Rods and Hatters,” she offered.
Councilmember Kara Bliss McGregor echoed the sentiment.
“I think time is too short – people have made their plans,” she said. “I’d also have concerns about the safety of pedestrians, especially the safety of small children. I think we need to stay with the plan.”
Rodgers said signs were being made to direct Black’s customers to the alternate parking lots.
“We will have several,” he said.


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