Park on Park

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Talk about a bargain. There’s free parking in Chestertown starting today. Along one block.

That’s why you’ll see bags over the ugly heads of the meters along Park Row. It’s an effort to draw business to some sometimes overlooked businesses there and to maybe free up some parking places on High Street, which tends to get plenty of business.

It’s a one-month experiment, going from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, to try to help Art Works, the woodcarver’s shop and the antique and collectables store on Park Row across from Fountain Park.

“It’s the forgotten section of town,” laments Mayor Margo Bailey.

There was no big opposition when Bailey proposed her meter moratorium at Town Council meeting last week.

Except it inspired Councilman Gibson Anthony to suggest putting stickers on meters to encourage folks to feed them, by dedicating the proceeds to planting street trees in Chestertown. “Feed a meter, plant a tree.”

Councilman Marty Stetson scoffed at that. People feed the meters for only one reason, he said –“not to get the ticket.”

Town Manager Bill Ingerson loved the notion though. His eyes lit up, he made motions with his hands like he was turning the little meter knob.

“Can we make it voluntary?” he wondered, imagining people stuffing nickels, dimes, quarters into every meter they pass, swelling Chestertown’s shrunken coffers.

But that idea didn’t fly. Instead, there’s going to be free parking on one short block for a month – never mind the hit to the town’s treasury.

“Let’s live dangerously,” said the mayor.

About Simon Kelly

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