TROY — A white Dodge Ram truck fish-tailed and squealed its tires on Trade Square East road before pulling in the parking lot at Hobart Institute of Welding Technology just as concerned residents walked out of a community meeting to vent their concerns of parking and traffic issues.
The school and its leaders held a community meeting at the school on Wednesday to discuss its plan to expand its parking lot to coincide with its new facility project, which will add 15,000 square feet of additional learning space.
More than 25 residents attended, along with school officials, Troy Police Department officials, Mayor Michael Beamish, President of Council Marty Baker and council member of the 5th Ward Bill Twiss.
The meeting addressed traffic concerns in the neighborhood located on Trade Square East. On Jan. 13, the city planning commission voted to positively recommend the rezoning issue to council. Council will hold a public hearing as part of its rezoning ordinance process on March 7. The request is to rezone two lots from residential to light industrial for the purpose of additional parking for the school’s new professional welding school facility.
School leaders stressed the world class welding school expansion reflects the growth and demand for students in its industry. Plans for the expansion include to add parking for 100-130 additional professional students to the existing lot to the north on the school.. The school will continue to use dirt mounds to block noise.
Most of the residents said they didn’t mind the school expanding, but they were more angry and concerned with the traffic and noise increasing in the neighborhood.
Retired employee of Hobart Institute of Welding Technology and President of Council Marty Baker said concerned residents should contact police if they witness problems like speeding and excess noise.
Resident Billie Williams, who lives across the street from the school, said she is upset that traffic issues continue to increase and is afraid for the Hook Elementary School students’ safety. She said she watches Hobart Welding Institute traffic drive in and out of its parking lot at high rates of speed, fail to stop at the stop signs and race down Trade Square East. Williams was just one of several residents who openly expressed their frustration with the lack of respect for the neighborhood.
“Someone is going to get hurt or killed,” Williams said. “Down in front of the (Hook Elementary ) school, when they get out at 3:30 p.m. they hit one of the teacher’s cars. They don’t stop to catch them. By the time we call police, they are gone. We need to do something about the traffic.”
Planning and zoning manager Tim Davis said if the rezoning issue goes through, the city will meet with Hobart Welding Institute officials and their construction team, Ferguson Construction, to review its traffic plan and address those concerns.
Council member Bill Twiss said any resident that wished to contact him to email him at any time at [email protected]
Reach Melanie Yingst at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @Troydailynews