If you want to come to Flint's revived downtown during business hours, soon it will cost you. $1 per hour to be exact. The long planned and long delayed meters are being installed now on Saginaw street and on several side streets. They're actually not meters, they're kiosks. One kiosk per 33 parking spots. You will walk to the nearest kiosk, enter your license plate number, and deposit your money.
Rhonda Groves Young says she understands why the cash strapped city would want to do it, but its too soon. "My fear is we already have a limited number of people coming downtown and if you discourage the people we do have they will come less or not at all," says Rhonda. Her business, Stir the Imagination, is not even 6 months old. Like many businesses downtown they are seeing slow progress during a fragile comeback. "I just don't think we're there yet for putting in parking meters to make money," she says.
One Flushing resident we spoke with downtown said she would avoid the downtown area after the parking kiosks go online. That is expected to happen within 30 days. Downtown parkers will be required to feed the kiosks, which will take cash or credit cards, Monday through Friday from 8am to 5pm. If you have enjoyed free parking at night and on the weekends in the past it will still be free at those times. But Young says the $1 per hour rate during business hours in way too steep.
"I'm in downtown Flint because I want to be a part of the rebuilding... the renaissance... that's going on here," she says. "But I think its too soon to put them in and it might be a step in the wrong direction it might be a step back."