RIVERSIDE - The council voted to allow boaters who have a handicapped parking tag or are older than 75 years old to park their vehicles and boat trailers in the city’s marina parking lot.  

Mayor Rusty Jessup said the city had placed parking restrictions last month at the marina to prevent the boat ramp from being blocked, but Councilman Jimmy Hollander said he had received complaints about the restrictions.

“I continue to get complaints,” Hollander told the council Tuesday night. “Let them park on top.”

Councilman Johnny Osborn said some drivers with boat trailers have blocked the boat ramp and the fuel pumps. He said it’s especially bad on weekends or when there’s a fishing tournament at the marina.

“We spent $40,000 to buy that park across the street, let’s use it,” he said.

Boaters are encouraged to park across the street from the marina or in another open space adjacent to the marina.

Hollander said there’s no reason to make people park across the street when there is no need during the week, or when there is no tournament.

“I don’t think we should make people walk from across the street,” he said. “They aren’t bothering anyone.”

He said the city should use the marina parking lot.

“It’s a parking lot and that is what it should be used for,” Hollander said.

Some of the older gentlemen, he said, regulars who fish during the week, can barely walk to the boat ramp as it is, and now the city wants them to park across the street, further away from the boat ramp.

Councilman Kenny Womack suggested that the council allow handicap parking at the marina.

“Let’s make it for handicapped parking and be done with it,” he said.

In a compromise, Osborn made a motion to set up two handicapped parking spaces for vehicles and boat trailers, allowing people who are handicapped or people who are 75 or older to park there.

His motion was approved by the council.

Jessup said city officials are learning as they go with the new city marina.

“It’s a work in progress,” he said. “When we get the money to pave and stripe the parking lot, all these problems are going to go away.”