Noblesville parking changes to free up police department

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NOBLESVILLE — The city of Noblesville passed its budget Tuesday, September 27th and in the plans are hefty sums of money targeted for public safety.

Nearly half of the $92 million budget is aimed at law enforcement in some regard. Mayor Chris Jensen says 45% of it will be dedicated to keeping the city safe as it continues to grow. 

New information from the U.S. Census states Noblesville is now the 10th most populous city in the state with nearly 70,000 residents. 

And as the Hamilton County city continues its expansion, the needs for parking and heightened public safety patrols grow alongside. Luckily for the city, one of their previous plans is about to pay off. 

“Parking is going to be a new situation in Noblesville with the opening of the Levinson Apartments on Friday,” Mayor Chris Jensen said. “With it, you’ll see the first-ever parking garage in downtown Noblesville. That is a publicly owned parking garage that will expand our economic base.”

The Levinson and conjoined parking garage opens Friday. The apartment & garage are the first of their kind in the city but according to the mayor, they’ve been needed. 

“I know that if I don’t see a street spot right away, that there’s a garage less than a half a block off the downtown square… that’s convent for folks, that’s safe for folks, that’s easy and predictable for folks,” Jensen said. “We want our downtown experience to be… exciting and a joyful time and circling the lot for a parking spot is oftentimes not that.”

Circling the parking spaces of the downtown square has become commonplace for the Davidson’s who visit Noblesville frequently to shop or dine locally. 

“Coming out of the pandemic it is definitely getting harder to find parking. With more and more people being out. It’s just getting a little harder now to find a spot that’s on a street,” Michael Davidson said. “We come up here fairly often and we enjoy street parking rather than being put into a garage but as a lot of the businesses are starting to bounce back. We definitely seen more and more people coming out, the square where we’re at right now, this is always pretty full.”

Mayor Jensen says the downtown square parking is premium but critical for the local businesses that anchor the spaces. He hopes the garage, situated only a half block from the area will alleviate some of their growing pains. 

Their newly approved budget hopes to tackle another, in regard to parking as well. 

“You’re seeing key investments in not only personnel on our public safety side but in training and apparatus going forward with the budget too,” Jensen said. “But I firmly believe that law enforcement need to be on the streets of our city making sure that we’re maintaining a safe community. There are private sector partners that can come alongside us and help monitor that parking.”

That’s why they’ve hired Indianapolis-based Denison Parking Inc. to take the burden of parking enforcement out of the hands of law enforcement. 

“That will free up some of our first responders and our public safety officials to get back to doing what they should be doing and that’s maintaining a safe and secure community here in Noblesville,” Jensen said. “It has to be priority number one. If we don’t have a safe community here in Noblesville. If we’re not supporting our police officers and firefighters to the best ability that we can… we’re gonna struggle to continue to grow the economic base.”

Starting next January, you won’t see officers driving parking enforcement vehicles, but you may soon see a few more patrols on the road.

“We will be hiring three additional employees with the Noblesville Police Department as well as three employees with the fire department,” Jensen said. “We’re trying to make sure that our first responders can actually go and be first responders in the community that can come alongside those in our community that need the help and the resources and give them that and leave parking to parking professionals here in the city.”

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