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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Parking fees return to Shelbyville square

Thursday, September 5, 2013

One month after it was done away with, parking enforcement has returned to the Shelbyville square -- with some changes.

Following a petition and more feedback from downtown merchants, city manager Jay Johnson put parking attendant April Hale back on the street "immediately."

But any waivers of the $5 tickets will come to a halt, and Johnson said "if someone receives a ticket, they'll pay it -- period."

Johnson also said he is ordering a tire boot for violators and the topic will be discussed again during the council's October study session.

Constant issue

At every meeting of the downtown task force this year, plus a number of city council meetings, the parking situation has been the returning focus of merchants.

A plan for the square was submitted Tuesday night, with merchants urging that two-hour parking be brought back and enforced.

The council voted last month to do away with enforcement since police were paying for a full-time employee to write the tickets, but voiding one-third of them related to the court system, with another third that were not paid.

Suggestions

Merchant Jennifer Jordan presented a five-page plan with a map of areas of public parking, stating that merchants should use city parking lots off the square to free up spaces in front of the stores.

She suggested that those with court business park in other areas the merchants would like designated for them, saying that the general public may not know they exist.

Another suggestion was that parking reserved for city and county vehicles be moved to the north side of the square where there are no retail businesses.

During the lengthy discussion, Johnson again noted that one third of the tickets written had been voided, also pointing out that one of the merchants sitting in the audience still had 22 unpaid tickets.

A number of options were floated by council members, such as raising the fines, towing the vehicles and buying a car boot for repeat offenders.

A distraction

But Johnson said Wednesday morning that the parking situation on the square needed to be addressed "in some manner" so that Shelbyville, merchants and property owners can focus their attention on "matters that will increase economic development opportunities in this community."

The city manager said the council and task force have spent the last nine months talking about parking and trees, "and if that's what's important to the merchants, then that's what we need to be talking about."

But in the larger perspective, Johnson also said "we need to (be) talking about sales tax revenue, we need to be talking about jobs, we need to be talking about reinvestment. We're not doing that."