Dear editor:

A majority of downtown businesses do not support the City Of Warren’s proposed parking plan.

The city claims we have a parking problem, but in reality the city has a financial problem. Our parking problems are no different than in other small towns across America. The city just wants to cash in on those who patronize our downtown businesses.

When another business owner stated her business serves nearly 13,000 people during the summer season, the city only sees dollar signs.

In their minds they are doing the right thing, that of balancing the city’s books, and they are doing the math and working fast to get the new parking fees instituted. They have openly admitted that free parking is fueled by the taxpayer, but they are asking taxpayers to pay again when they come downtown. I then assume they are going to lower taxes, or is this just a way to nickel and dime the taxpayers to death. It’s time they stop.

The reality is they are creating more of a mess than what they already have. Everyone is unhappy with their idea to charge for parking. We’re concerned our businesses will decline and we will be out-of-business in no time.

Recently most of the small downtown businesses have been working together with Main Street and The Downtown Warren Business Partnership to promote our downtown by creating events such as First Fridays, Liberty Rocks, Pops by the Fountain, and our Wine & Art Walk.

We offer discounts, hospitality, advertise and do all we can to make our downtown a destination and a place worth visiting and to eat and shop. All of those who attend comment on how nice it all is. They want to return and we also want them to. We want this momentum to continue and hopefully grow our customer base. The parking plans are counterproductive to our future. If the city charges for parking we fear our customers won’t come back.

I think the city has it all backwards. They should be excited to see how dedicated the downtown businesses are and work with us to help grow our downtown businesses.

If they want a ghost town, then by all means put those parking meters in. Sadly, we won’t be here to tell them, “we told you so.”

Thank you,

Julia Tarr,

Phase Two Clothing