Free holiday parking approved with stipulations

Photo by Amy Cherry - St. Marys City Council members discuss free holiday parking during a recent meeting.
Amy Cherry
Staff Writer

The St. Marys Area Chamber of Commerce's free holiday parking request has been approved by St. Marys City Council with stipulations.
Free parking this year was approved throughout the city for Light Up Night on Friday, Nov. 17. However, free holiday parking from Black Friday, Nov. 24 through Dec. 26 is only offered in the city's parking lots and the parking garage. On-street parking will remain enforced during this time period.
The motion was approved by a 4-2 vote with Councilmen Ned Jacob and Greg Gebauer casting no votes.
As in past years the concern was voiced over merchants and employees taking up the on-street parking spaces, thus leaving few spaces for business patrons.
Councilman Gary Anderson said it is difficult to find a parking space near the post office during their peak season. Last year, Anderson said he observed 60 percent of the vehicles remaining in the on-street spaces for several hours at a time.
Councilman Andrew Mohney noted this also occurs on Erie Avenue all year long, not just during the holiday season.
Councilman Lou Radkowski said city officials need to better understand the economics of parking, specifically looking at how free parking drives revenue.