Free Downtown Parking Proposed
The proposal was not without critics. Councilman Adrian Mapp spoke against the measure, saying he did not think it would make a difference. Citing "harsh times," he said he was suggesting that the city "not do this this year."
But Councilwoman Linda Carter said downtown merchants wanted it and she would support it.
"It helps in the push right before Christmas time," she said.
Without free parking, downtown shoppers risk a $38 fine if they park overtime, which Carter cited as a source of fear.
Councilman William Reid said he supported the resolution, because it could make a difference whether shoppers go downtown or to the Watchung Square Mall, where parking is free. Reid wished local shoppers a happy holiday and asked them to "make sure they pay their taxes in February early."
Councilman Elliott Simmons, a longtime downtown businessman, also favored giving shoppers a break and suggested that Mapp needs to spend more time downtown. Mapp countered by saying he and his family do shop downtown regularly.
Councilman Cory Storch drew a laugh by thanking all those who make a "generous $38 contribution" to the city.
The resolution will be up for approval on Monday, Dec. 14 at Municipal Court, 325 Watchung Ave.