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Vote Possible Tonight On Bloomington Paid Parking Plan

Bloomington’s City Council is scheduled to vote Wednesday on a plan that would add more parking meters downtown. The argument for the meters is simple. If more people are paying to park downtown, the city will benefit financially.

Mayor Mark Kruzan has said the additional revenue could be used to offset the losses from the city’s parking garages, about $400,000 annually. One of the problems some business owners see with the proposal is that it could deter people from coming downtown.

Chamber of Commerce Interim President Jim Shelton says the plan would eliminate 1,200 free spaces.

“They’re worried about the impact on business,” Shelton says. “They’re worried that it will discourage people from coming downtown. The retail segment is very fragile still as a result of the recession. They’re working on very thin margins. They’re afraid it will cause customers to no longer come here.”

Most city council members abstained from an earlier vote on the plan, with some saying they could not vote for the earlier specifications. The Chamber says its opposition could wane if the meters are made part of a larger transportation overhaul plan for the city and county.

Aaricka Washington contributed to this report.

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