OSHKOSH - There is a new effort in a major area city to deal with downtown parking problems hurting both businesses and customers.
At the Harmony Wellness Center in downtown Oshkosh owner MaDonna Hill told FOX 11 parking can be a problem for her customers.
"They come here, support our business and support our services and then come out here and get a ticket. It's such an insult," said Hill.
There is free parking downtown, with 1.5 to 2 hour time limits. With a permit, parking is unlimited.
If your car outstays its welcome, that's a $15 ticket from the city.
Transportation Director Chris Strong told us there have been several complaints like Hill's.
"Whenever you have a public parking situation, you're trying to accommodate a lot of different interests," said Strong.
So the downtown Business Improvement District, or BID, board has stepped in.
Manager Cassie Cook started looking at the parking permits, which the city offers by the day, month and year.
"Looked at how many stalls in each of the lots had those permit parking spots and see if it was worth it for us to buy them," explained Cassie.
According to Cook the research found that about half the stalls downtown are permit parking."
So the board felt it was worth it, and bought 500 of the day permits from the city for $1.30 each. They cost $1.50 individually. Cook is now selling them to businesses and individuals for 75 cents each.
"The money that we spent on those comes out of the assessment, so property owners are already paying in. So we wanted to give them a break," explained Cook.
Strong told us the city is behind the experiment.
"To make it so the parking isn't the event, what you're coming downtown for is," said Strong.
And so is Hill. She just bought 40 permits to give her customers.
"I think it's a great idea. Is it a perfect solution? Probably not, there is no perfect solution. It's complicated," said Hill.
Cook told us if the discounted permits are a success, the business group plans to continue buying them.
You can buy the discounted daily parking permits by contacting Cassie Cook at 920.303.2265 ext. 11 or Cassie@downtownoshkosh.com
The daily parking permits can also be purchased at City Hall or the Oshkosh Public Library for $ 1.50.
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