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March 09. 2014 9:52PM

Easter Seals’ appeal prompts Manchester to rethink parking limit

MANCHESTER — City officials are going to reconsider imposing parking time limits on a street that borders the Easter Seals building, after the nonprofit’s director raised concerns about the potential impact to its staff and patrons.

The city’s traffic division was set to place one- and two-hour parking signs on Auburn Street, between Lincoln and Wilson streets, after the aldermen’s Committee on Public Safety, Health and Traffic approved the posting. The request was made by Alderman Ed Osborne, who represents Ward 5, where Easter Seals is located.

Informed about the pending parking restriction on the street last week, Larry Gammon, the president of Easter Seals of New Hampshire, wrote to Mayor Ted Gatsas.“This will represent a hardship for us, as we have limited parking at our facility. We did not realize we were causing a problem for anyone,” Gammon wrote, adding, “Most of the seniors and children served at the building ... are Manchester residents who receive a great deal of free or reduced price care.”

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen at last week’s meeting approved Gatsas’ request to review the restrictions, with input from Easter Seals.

Osborne said he was surprised when he heard that Gammon had objected to the change. The alderman said he was just trying to balance the interests of other residents who might want to park on the street.

“There’s no business in town that owns a street, nonprofit or otherwise,” he said. “It’s a public street. What we have to do is compromise as best as we can.”

Gammon stressed that parking at the facility’s lot is limited. “We have a large staff. A lot of people use the building. We’ve just frankly run out of parking, so we have people who park there during the day,” he said.

Last summer, Osborne had a dispute with a bus driver with STS, the student transportation service run by Easter Seals. Osborne was accused of berating and threatening the driver while she was stopped in the street to pick up a special needs child. Police investigated the matter, but did not press any charges.

Both Osborne and Gammon insisted that the episode had nothing to do with latest dispute over parking.

tsiefer@unionleader.com


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