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February 8, 2012 - Kylie Saari
Downtown Plaza is in an uproar this week, with employees and their customers living under the threat of a $25 parking ticket for lingering for longer than the posted two hours. The parking limit has been the law of the land for years, but has only been enforced in fits and starts. In my four and a half years at the Sentinel, I have heard tales of times past, when tickets of $2 were handed out regularly, but I have never seen one written out during my time here. Mayor Quiring has said businesses are happy with the enforcement, as their customers have a place to park near the door. But there is no word on whether customers enjoy having a two hour limit put on their shopping trip. As an employee on Downtown Plaza, the enforcement is an annoyance, but really isn't infuriating because my job has me in and out of the office so much I am rarely parked in the same spot long enough for it to be a problem. Others in the office feel differently. As a resident of Fairmont I am annoyed. Let's just say I wanted to take advantage of downtown. Let's say I wanted a leisurely lunch with friends, followed by some browsing at the scrapbooking store, then over to the thrift shops, and maybe, in the summer, a chance to enjoy Friday's at the Park. That would take more than two hours. Getting a ticket might make me less likely to spend my money downtown again. And $25 seems a little steep. I guess the city gets to decide where its priorities lie, and enforcing this time limit is important enough to them to fight for. I just hope they aren't surprised by the anger it has stirred up.
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