Green Mountain Falls administrators slow down paid parking plan
Sparks fly over a new management proposal; The opposition continues to mount
The paid parking controversy in Green Mountain Falls is heading for yet another savage political shootout next Tuesday (May 18), when a final decision on this hot topic that has sparked debate for months could arise.
Elected GMF directors couldn’t reach the finish line last week by finalizing a two-year contract with a major player in the parking industry in Colorado and several other states.
The ambitious paid parking deal will mark a huge change for GMF, with the advent of nearly $ 200,000 in infrastructure start-up costs, including more than 15 kiosks and state-of-the-art equipment, employee ambassadors of the company, officers responsible for the application of the code. and likely quotes. Oddly enough, the contract with the Interstate Parking Company of Colorado, which manages parking for many resort communities, such as Breckenridge, Keystone and Idaho Springs, will not generate as much revenue, according to company officials.
During last week’s board hearing, opposition to the city’s effort continued to mount, with residents and key economic operators protesting the paid parking plan and urging administrators to proceed. with caution. The nays clearly outweighed those in favor of the plan in what turned into an extremely lively virtual meeting.
In fact, one top restaurateur claimed the plan would wipe out his business, a trademark tradition in the region for decades. The reception of the parking lot offered by the business community has been freezing.
Elected leaders agreed to continue the hearing for two weeks to deal with some big unanswered questions, such as the location of downtown parking and application details, and to allow for greater participation. public.
Administrators, however, seem poised to endorse some type of managed parking plan. “There are a lot of good points (with the interstate parking plan),” said Trustee Dyani Loo. “We’re going to have a lot more visitors and we’re going to have a tourist attraction. This is a big deal. “
But at the same time, she cited the importance of generating more community contribution.
“I see no reason to rush,” said Trustee Chris Quinn, expressing an opinion expressed by many residents who spoke at the meeting. Quinn admitted some bewilderment about the location of the paid parking spots and the details surrounding law enforcement.
“I don’t have a clear idea,” Quinn said.
But Mayor Jane Newberry urged administrators to move forward on the plan. “We have to manage parking for the city. It’s a big priority, ”said the mayor.
The mayor also said she did not understand concerns about the proposed fee, as most visitors will pay next to nothing, with the company and the city offering two hours of free parking and a nominal fee after that point. “I am lost,” the mayor said, discussing the high level of opposing comments and personal attacks.
Trustee Margaret Peterson expressed concern about a negative net income scenario and requested that the hearing continue. She indicated that she supported the plan, but wanted to make sure all i’s were pointed. This recommendation was unanimously supported by a 4-0 vote.
The directors, however, will undoubtedly face a tough audience at the May 18 meeting.
Paid parking offer sparks huge outcry
At last week’s hearing, around 20 critics of paid parking fired verbal bullets and chat responses at city leaders and interstate parking officials as they expressed deep concern as to the direction the city is taking in this endeavor.
“What is the objective of this project?” asked Mike Frey, co-owner of the Painted Bear gift shop at GMF. He also questioned where the support was for such an ambitious proposal, with negative comments dominating virtually all discussions about paid parking.
“The vast majority of our community opposes paid parking,” said Rocco Biasi, a former member of the planning commission and the trails committee. In addition, he accused city leaders and the administration of ignoring the dominant voices of the GMF, an attitude he called an affront to “representative democracy”. “Why cause this uproar?” asked Biasi.
Other residents, without going to this extreme, echoed similar sentiments. Resident David Douglas said the city’s leaders do not represent the interests and wishes of “those who elected them.” He also questioned the lack of full transparency. “I’m so confused by how it got to this point,” blasted resident Judith Piazza. “All the flavor of Green Mountain Falls would be affected.”
Other residents echoed great concerns about the actual contract and the lack of a clear termination or backup clause. Additionally, comparisons have been made with the paid parking debacle in Manitou Springs, which led many visitors to boycott this community.
Perhaps the most moving plea came from Ben Stephens, owner of The Pantry restaurant. “Help me, let me know,” said Stephens, who said no city official had told him about the program or asked him about his concerns.
With the paid parking plan, he expects his business to lose another 25%, an amount he has described as the fatal blow to The Pantry, a Green Mountain Falls institution for decades. He said the company had already been severely affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. “It will be an empty building,” Stephens said. He even wonders about the fate of the classic vehicle, placed in front of the company. “I’m losing a business that I’ve owned for 25 years,” Stephens said.
When the discussions about paid parking began, The Pantry displayed an opposing sign that garnered a lot of attention.
Give us a chance
At last week’s hearing, representatives from Interstate Parking gave a detailed presentation and promised to work with the community. They admitted that similar apprehensions have occurred in other cities where they have implemented their programs. But the business leaders had a firm conclusion: give us a chance because you won’t be disappointed. “We sincerely believe that all residents and business owners will say this is the best thing you’ve ever done,” said Gareth Lloyd, executive vice president and managing partner of Interstate Parking.
He told administrators that their company would foot the bill for all necessary infrastructure, including more than 15 automatic kiosks and a team of parking ambassadors, who will serve as community representatives. These employees, described as smile ambassadors, will help visitors get to the trails and give them information on restaurants, bars and shops to frequent.
Additionally, they plan to have a town hall facility for several months, making it easy for residents to register for paperless permits. Under the proposed arrangement, residents will not be charged for parking. The company will use state-of-the-art technology, without a meter or even demarcated parking spaces. Most customers can use the parking terminals on offer, via their smartphones.
The biggest question was probably about the potential revenue from the project. Lloyd admitted that the Green Mountain Falls program would not make a lot of money. “It won’t be too profitable,” admitted Lloyd. He said the company was able to serve GMF due to the extensive infrastructure it has already established.
At the end of the forum, Executive Director Angie Sprang thanked residents for their comments, both pro and con. She said the city’s parking quagmire lasted “for years.”
In his note on the contract, Sprang cited the huge investment made by Interstate and cited a win-win partnership between the city and the Interstate.
Quinn urged residents to continue providing advice to city leaders. By accessing the city’s website, residents can easily provide feedback to any individual directors or officers.