Wheeling officials are hopeful a neighborhood controversy over employee parking for the Fresh Farms grocery can be averted without their involvement.
But if employees fail to park in a lot newly leased for them, the village will investigate parking restrictions to keep their cars off nearby residential streets, officials said.
Center Avenue behind the shopping center on the southwest corner of Dundee Road and Milwaukee Avenue has generated the most complaints.
Wheeling Trustee Dean Argiris, who has filed to run as a candidate for village president in the April election, announced during last week's village board meeting that the shopping center's landlord had leased 40 spaces near the Solex College building. Argiris said the property owner would "prohibit" employees of stores in the shopping center from parking on the streets.
Employees who park in that lot on the northeast corner of Dundee and Milwaukee will have to cross two busy streets, but Village Manager Jon Sfondilis said each has a pedestrian crosswalk.
Sfondilis said village staff will study what type of parking restrictions to impose if this doesn't solve the problem.
"Everybody is really happy it's being done," said Mary Papantos, who does not live in the neighborhood but says she has friends who do.
But Papantos, who also has filed as a candidate for village trustee and has spoken out on the issue, said resolution of the problem has taken too long and she is skeptical that anything short of official village action will solve the problem. "Whether or not it will be enforced -- that's the big thing," she said of the landlord's promise.
She said with trucks going in and out of the center, the cars parked on the street make it dangerous for people to pull out of their driveways. It also puts children at Walt Whitman School, 133 S. Wille Ave., at risk, she said.