A Letter From Our Pastor…

Dr. Bill Ross

Dear First Baptist Members and Guests:

For the past several months, our Church has been gathering information and seeking the aid of professionals to deal with the use and control of our parking lot. Under the direction of our Properties Committee and Trustees, an ad hoc Task Force was designated to handle the situation.

Over the course of several months, that Task Force met to review the situation and ultimately decided to interview and negotiate a contract with a parking management company. The Task Force solicited bids and interviewed several companies. Three companies were selected to submit formal proposals and to come for a second interview. After that round completed, the Task Force unanimously recommended Cornerstone Parking.  

Cornerstone was selected by the Parking Lot Task Force for three primary reasons:

 1)      Cornerstone is a smaller, local company that the Task Force felt had the requisite flexibility to adapt to the Church and its needs;

2)     Cornerstone is willing to engage in a straight revenue split from the lot and not require a monthly guaranteed amount from the Church;

3)     Cornerstone is willing to allow the Church an exit strategy from the contract and mechanism for the Church to avoid equipment and other costs if the contract was canceled.

At that point, the task force began finalizing the contract with Cornerstone Parking. The contract was also reviewed by a CPA to verify compliance with our 501(c) status. The Board of Trustees then reviewed and recommended the proposed contract and required several changes, which were made.

The agreement was presented at the Church in Conference on March 13, 2019, by Justin O’Dell, representing the Task Force and as a member of the Trustees. The recommendation is that, if approved, a contract date start date of April 15, 2019, would be desired. Bill Ross as Pastor, called a business meeting of the Church at that time to be held on April 10, 2019, at 6:00 p.m. following our Wednesday night supper. At this time we will ask for a vote to approve the agreement and direct the Trustees to sign this agreement.

Some information about the contract and relationship which will be helpful for you: 

1)      The purpose of the contract is to attain control and management of our lot. The purpose is not to create a source of revenue for the Church. If we are fortunate enough to generate some positive revenue, we can consider that revenue as a source for capital maintenance of the lots and facilities or as a means to support additional parking services is needed. 

2)     The lot will be managed by signage and a digital pay box (where you pay by credit card or your smartphone). During larger events, Cornerstone may also use uniformed personnel. 

3)     We have given Cornerstone the known times for usage for the Church.  During those times (for example, Sunday morning), the Church lot will be free to all. During other times, individuals coming to the Church will be provided a validation code or a validation slip or car hanger to place in their automobile. In a general sense, the times for paid use of the lot will be on Thursday nights, Friday nights and  Saturday nights and Saturday days. We will be able to notify Cornerstone of other demands such as weddings and funerals.   

4)     The foregoing means that if you come and use the parking lot on Friday night to attend a downtown Marietta event, you will pay to park.  Everyone involved considered the concept of having the lot free to members at all times, however, it proved unwieldy. We have many active attendees who are not formal “members” and many members who are not active attendees.  

5)     We have notified the City of Marietta of our intention to retake full rights to the FLC lot in July when our lease with the Downtown Development Authority Expires. This agreement contemplates that additional lot and will be managed by Cornerstone as well when the lease expires.

6)     The existence of this agreement does not suddenly mean that you will find a place to park on Wednesday nights (or Sunday mornings). The conclusion from all involved is that our activities on those dates simply exceeds our capacity. While we may have a few cars parking in the lot who are not coming to Church, the vast majority of users do come to the Church.   

7)     We will not begin towing and other enforcement immediately, but will take place when necessary. We anticipate a roll-out process with notices and other messaging to allow the public to adapt to the new order.   

8)    The contract provides for flexibility to adjust after an initial 120 review period. We fully anticipate that both our teams and Cornerstone have not covered every conceivable issue that could arise. We are confident that they are the best partner to work through it with us. We have learned that they are going to be handling parking management for other private lots in downtown Marietta. Hopefully, this will be beneficial to our relationship.

We will vote on this parking agreement on Wednesday, April 10, at 6pm during a called church in conference meeting. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at bross@mariettafbc.org or call me at 770424-8326. Thank you to each Trustee and each member of the Parking Lot Task Force for their expertise and time in dealing with this matter.