Council discusses free parking

Two days after The Daily Sentinel published an editorial advocating free parking during downtown construction, Grand Junction City Council members discussed the pros and cons of such an action.

The subject surfaced at a council retreat Friday when Councilman Tom Kenyon asked how the city would be affected if it lost downtown parking revenue until the end of construction lasting through June on the 100, 200 and 300 blocks of Main Street.

“Being an anti-tax person, I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if we didn’t have any meters downtown?’ ” Kenyon said.

Councilman Gregg Palmer, who owns Brown’s Shoe Fit Co. at 425 Main St., said construction season would be the ideal time to cover meters. But he questioned how much customers would benefit from covering the meters for six months. Palmer said a lack of parking enforcement while meters are bagged during the Christmas season leads to downtown employees taking free, short-term parking spots along the street.

“The second you bag all the meters, all those people that park in the 10-hour spots (behind Main Street merchants) move up to the two-hour spots,” Palmer said.

“It’s a nice gesture, and that’s what it would be, a gesture,” Palmer added. “Do we need the gesture? I don’t know. It’s almost like a solution in search of a problem.”

Councilwoman Teresa Coons said her first thought when considering free parking was: “Why not?” But she changed her mind when she heard employees sometimes take advantage of the situation.

“Another thing is we need the revenue,” Councilwoman Bonnie Beckstein said.

Revenue from parking meters helps pay for the parking garage on Rood Avenue.


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