Parking will again be at a premium
Every year thousands of people flood into Baldwin City for the annual Maple Leaf Festival looking for a place to park. This year is no exception as there changes to the parking regulations.
The two major changes this year deal with Fifth and Sixth streets. Nancy Brown, who is in charge of parking and parade safety for the MLF committee, said there will be no parking on either side of Fifth Street from U.S. Highway 56 to High Street.
"Our trams aren't being able to get through the street easily and they can't get around the corners on Fifth Street," Brown said.
The new parade route has forced Sixth Street to be closed from Highway 56 to High Street. It will be closed from 10 a.m. until after the parade on Saturday.
"It's inconvenient, but we don't want anyone driving through the girls' drill team or anything," Brown said.
Other than those two changes, the usual parking regulations will be enforced. There will be no parking on the east side of numbered streets and the south side of the name streets. Brown also said there will be no parking on Eighth Street from Highway 56 to Indiana Street or on Eleventh Street.
"My crew will be putting up signs all around town," Brown said. "If people are willing to walk that extra block, most problems could be avoided."
Since parking spots in town will be at a premium, visitors do have the option to park on the edge of town and take a shuttle into downtown. There will be parking available at Baldwin High School and the Baldwin Elementary School Intermediate Center.
Visitors can park at either place for $5 for the full day. They will also have unlimited shuttle rides on buses into the city between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Saturday. Brown said there isn't enough traffic on Sundays to worry about parking at those locations.
"People have been doing very well in using those facilities, but I would like to see people use the whole town to park," Brown said. "That would help clear the congestion on most of the town."
Brown also said if visitors obey the parking rules and regulations, it will help prevent problems. Many groups or individuals will have parking spaces available at a cost during the weekend.
"We are at the stage right now that we know things are going to go fine, no matter what we do," Brown said.