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A lot to consider with proposed paid parking in downtown

Is short-term pain worth long-term gain?

That is how we view the current discussion taking place by Alpena Downtown Development Authority members who are considering installing parking meters on the streets of Alpena again. The thinking, and rationale behind the decision, would be to eventually construct a parking garage in the city.

First, we are 100 percent behind building a parking facility in the community. Such a structure would address many of the parking concerns around town now and, if designed correctly, could anticipate and address future concerns as well.

But, we always have viewed paid street parking as a regressive step that would discourage visitors from the downtown, not invite them. The last time motorists paid to park in downtown was over 30 years ago. With that in mind then, is paid parking really the route to go?

Perhaps.

We say that because a parking facility does not come inexpensively. If paid parking is a “means toward an end” in helping to address some of the costs needed for construction of a parking garage, then we would be more likely to come around and support that way of thinking.

“We need to get this process underway, because we need a garage,” said DDA President Mike Mahler at a meeting this week. “We don’t want to keep kicking the can down the road. We’re going to have to make some hard decisions, but it needs to be done.”

And maybe it does. For now, we encourage your thoughts.

What do you think? Write us a letter to the editor and share your comments with all of us.

(ALPENA NEWS)