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$130, 000 Plan Adds Parking to Capitol Square

By: Dana Brueck
By: Dana Brueck

A Capitol Square parking plan will cost more than originally expected, but local businesses say the community will see a payoff long term.

Some people who work on Capitol Square make laws, others make sales.

Peg Scholtes owns Capitol Kids.

She says "some days are really not great, some days are wonderful."

Then some days, the place just seems inconvenient.

"A lot of people are discouraged to come to Capitol Square because they don't think there's any parking, or being downtown is congested and crowded," Scholtes says.

But the mayor hopes to encourage people to crowd downtown by adding 27 parallel parking spots.

Mayor Dave Cieslewicz says "when you're talking about a small business, which doesn't really need a lot of parking, and when you think about the fact that those stalls might turn over every 20 minutes or a half hour, that's really quite a bit of parking."

Original estimates put the project's cost at $20, 000. But the mayor says it will actually cost more than $130, 000.

"We anticipate that the revenues from these 27 stalls will be about $50, 000 a year," Cieslewicz says.

The mayor says the cost of the project jumped because of a seam in the street that would run down the middle of the bike lane. He says "this is frankly the reason we're making the $130, 000 investment to make sure we can put in a dedicated bike lane that actually works for them."

Meantime, Scholtes says any number of spots works for her.

"In a small business, a couple of sales a day could make difference between a good day and a bad day."

Besides, Scholtes says any day with more meters could mean a good day for city coffers.

"Just the cost in overtime parking, tickets are going to make a big difference. I think the parking spaces will pay for themselves."

If the city council approves the plan next month, engineers will test the parking spaces on one block in the spring.


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