Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Some Business Owners Say New Paid Parking Detrimental to Pandemic Recovery – Estes Park Trail-Gazette

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However, we found some businesses owners may be more impacted than others. We found that most of the responses from visitors were positive, telling us that the parking here in Estes Park is less than the areas they are visiting from.

She said the most significant hurdle the new policies created for her was that her business could not rent a back parking lot behind the theater to the post office this year, resulting in a loss of $5,000 for the summer season.

One of those owners is Jenna MacGregor, who owns four businesses downtown, including the Historic Park Theater, The Theater Cafe, The Slab and The Slab Arcade.

MacGregor needed to use the space to provide parking for her employees. She said the new policy is making it so customers have to leave partly through a movie to make sure they aren’t getting a parking ticket.

“I am not seeing many locals at The Slab for live entertainment, and that is really sad and frustrating,” MacGregor added.”

Things get better after six p.m. when parking becomes free.

“I used to have a lot of locals come down and spend a lot of time when the parking was free for three hours, and now that they only get a half-hour, there is no way they can get a beer and sit down for a meal at the same time.” So she has the concern that they may be pulled over more by the police.

Dani Stafford of the Grey House

“I think it is horrible, and the locals don’t want to pay for parking,” MacGregor concluded. “I think what is happening is the town is pushing locals out of the downtown area. I would like to say that we had a pandemic. But, we are just beginning to recover, and I am already having trouble getting product (for her business), and I don’t need the addition of not having the customers come downtown as well. The city has caused part of that, and it is making it very difficult to recover.”

Dani Stafford of the Grey House has a different story to tell. According to her, “I have heard from a few locals about the new paid parking, that they are kind of frustrated. But, otherwise, we have not seen a big change.”

When asked if she has seen a decrease in local patronage, she said, “I don’t think it is that huge of a deal. I think it has taken some getting used to, and many people, myself included, have been too busy to get their locals pass yet. It will just take a little time to get used to.”

Some businesses along the Highway 7 corridor say they have seen increased business from customers looking to avoid the paid parking downtown.

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