Antioch to lock boat ramp parking lot gate at night to prevent sideshows

A car can be seen doing donuts in the Antioch boat launch parking lot in late July 2023. Herald file photos

Plus, barrier between parking lots

“Maybe we can sleep, again at night” – Rivertown resident Joy Motts

Council members, Rivertown residents meet with city staff to find solutions; Barbanica proposes ordinance to fine spectators

By Allen D. Payton

A meeting was held last Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2023 among council members, Rivertown residents, business owner and city staff to develop solutions to the problems with sideshows in and near the Antioch Boat Ramp and Marina parking lots. Residents have been complaining about the noisy, late-night activity waking and keeping them up at night. (See related article) (See related videos here and here)

The meeting and this last weekend’s activities resulted in the first solutions. Acting City Manager Kwame Reed announced in an email to councilmembers on Monday, that the City will be locking the gate to the boat ramp parking lot from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. In addition, a barrier will be placed between that parking lot and the one that serves the Antioch Marina and the restaurant.

In the meeting was District 3 Councilman Mike Barbanica who requested it, Mayor Pro Tem Tamisha Torres-Walker whom he invited because she represents District 1, Reed, Acting Public Works Director Scott Buenting, Antioch Police Sgt. Rob Green, Joy Motts and other Rivertown residents, and the owner and manager of Smith’s Landing Seafood Grill.

“We discussed all the issues that were occurring in the boat launch parking lot and how it’s affecting the surrounding areas, downtown neighborhoods and residents,” Barbanica stated. “Second, we discussed increased enforcement in areas where people congregate for sideshows.”

“Scott Buenting had done some research prior to the meeting and found some raised delineators that allow cars to drive through the parking lot but prevent the sideshow activity,” the councilman shared. “He will research the cost and availability as well as the distance they need to be placed to prevent cars from spinning donuts. Depending on the cost, it may have to be brought back to the council for a vote.

“Third, while in the meeting, I sent an email requesting an ordinance to be brought to the council as an agenda item to fine onlookers at sideshows,” Barbanica said. “Lamar (Mayor Thorpe) responded that this was something the chief was supposed to be working on, but it got sidetracked.”

After the reports of Sunday morning’s sideshows Motts said, “It is so out of control down here, every night. We met with city staff, last week. They have some plans, but it it not enough. We need action and help, now!”

When reached for comment on Monday about closing the boat ramp parking lot gate announced today, she said, “That’s something we spoke about in the meeting. I think this absolutely had to be done. The sideshows were going on, again last night. They were right back at it.”

“Also, just last night someone drove down Second Street going 100 MPH, it was estimated by a witness,” she continued. “Plus, a neighbor told me a driver was drifting his car on the wrong side of L Street, while someone was filming to show the police station in the background. Sgt. Green told me they share it on social media, so more people come.”

About closing the boat ramp parking lot gates Motts added, “I’m praying. Maybe we can sleep again, at night.”

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Sideshow Antioch boat ramp parking lot 0723

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