Our opinion: Why not the old West?
If it’s not clear to members of Warren City Council by now, it should be soon.
No matter what parking plan you come up with for downtown Warren, there are going to be people who don’t like it…lots of people.
Merchants and business owners don’t like downtown workers camping in parking spots in front of their businesses all day.
The city is stuck with a money pit painted blue that was originally conceived to service a hotel-convention center that doesn’t exist, yet another legacy from the Impact Warren inebriation.
And, nobody wants to pay for something they used to get for free and feel entitled to.
Those are the unfortunate strands in a web entangling the good intentions of city council members, who seem bent on finding a solution that will satisfy all of the people all of the time.
It’s not going to happen.
One might be tempted as a frustrated councilman to simply throw up your hands and pronounce: “All right. Here it is: Free parking. Free parking everywhere. No meters, no kiosks, no parking patrols, no time limits, no confusing zones. The taxpayers will foot Big Blue’s bills and pay for the maintenance of various parking lots. It’ll be a lot like the old west, but without the hitching posts.
“City taxpayers, you’ll just have to get used to subsidizing the convenience of the hundreds of people who don’t pay city taxes because they shop downtown or commute to work from the townships.
“Merchants, grin, bear it, and add the words ‘free parking’ to your advertisements along with an asterisk and the fine print: ‘if you can find one’.”
It’s a fiscally irresponsible idea, of course, but from the standpoint of political pander, it’s solid. The only fly in the ointment is that city taxpayers didn’t really understand that they were underwriting parking until council told them.
Maybe they’ll forget.