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Bloomington split on adding metered parking

– A plan to install parking meters throughout downtown Bloomington is drawing heated opposition from residents and business owners who contend the meters would create a costly burden in the college town.

The plan’s opponents complained at Wednesday’s city council hearing that adding paid meters would hurt the local economy at a time of continuing economic struggles.

Jim Bradley of O’Child Boutique said the city needs to be careful that it doesn’t harm the local economy in its search for “a quick buck.”

“You might be able to drive downtown and find all kinds of parking in front of empty storefronts,” he said.

The Herald-Times reported that Bloomington Mayor Mark Kruzan’s plan would meter most of the downtown area.

City public works director Susie Johnson said that’s because metering specific areas could put an undue burden on areas that would remain free.

The council is set to vote on the plan Feb. 6.

Council President Darryl Neher said the city needs to add to its revenue, saying parking meters could help provide a new revenue stream.

“At some point, we have to find a way to maintain the fiscal health of Bloomington,” he said. “Are parking meters part of that process? Therein lies the question.”

Kruzan and Bloomington public works director Susie Johnson continue to cite a 2007 study by parking consultants that found downtown on-street parking spaces are packed while garages remain empty and financial losers.