Irmo explores expanding parking at new park - - Columbia, South Carolina |

Irmo explores expanding parking at new park

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The popularity of the new Community Park of Irmo is a blessing and a curse.

So many people are using the park, town officials are looking at nearby places to accommodate parking. At the Town Council meeting Tuesday night, the group passed a measure authorizing City Administrator Bob Brown to investigate possible nearby areas where parking lots could be built.

"Let's look and see what's available," said Council Member Barry Walker, who proposed the idea.

Council members got a look at the parking situation at an event May 3rd celebrating the completion of the new 15-acre park off Church Street. They discussed traffic flow as hundreds of people attended the event.

Organizers of the Okra Strut plan to hold the event at the new park in September. Last year it was held at the Irmo Town Park, which is much smaller.

"In 41 years of the Okra Strut, we've never had on-site parking," said Council Member Harvey Hoots. Thousands of guests rode shuttle buses to the event from off-site parking lots.

Kirk Luther, Chairman of the Irmo Okra Strut Commission, says as many as 60,000 people attended the event in 2013.

"We will run twice as many shuttles as last year," he said.

The Okra Strut is September 26-27. Luther says the Commission has booked Tokyo Joe and Mothers Finest to perform Friday night and is working to schedule acts for Saturday performances.

When the parking item appeared on the meeting's agenda, two homeowners living near the park expressed concerns about removing a 100-foot buffer zone for parking, but council members assured them they would find other places for parking, including possibly acquiring property near the park.

Brown is expected to present his findings at the next City Council meeting on May 20th.

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