Katz said the turnout at the public hearing showed that the opponents of paid parking are over-generalizing when they declare the paid parking will drive away business or that the initial problems with the system prove it needs to be shut down.
“There’s no uniform opinion in Cooperstown on anything,” he said. “To say no one will come because of paid parking … I am hesitant, less than two weeks in to make such an ironclad declaration. To say we should just shut it down because there have been initial problems … you can draw your own conclusions about why people would say that.”
In addition, Katz said that there have been plenty of spaces available on streets with free parking, such as on Lake, River, Elm, Fair and Chestnut streets.
“There’s free parking and all day parking available,” he said. “The idea that you can only park in the village now in paid parking is wrong. We have been monitoring it to see if there is a bulge in parking on those streets, but we have not seen it,” he said.
Village officials and even some business owners have been making an effort to get locals to buy $25 parking permits as a way to ensure that residents will still shop in Cooperstown. As of Monday, 563 parking permits had been sold, according to village clerk Teri Barown, raising $14,075. The permits allow up to two-hours of parking in paid parking spaces, excluding Doubleday Field, which has its own preexisting paid parking system.
Adding in revenue from the new meters and parking tickets would boost the village’s early revenue total to more than $20,000, according to Katz. This year’s parking money has been unofficially earmarked to fix Susquehanna Street.
“Paid parking can help the village finance long overdue infrastructure projects to fix streets in need of repair, replace ancient sewer and water lines and make Main Street a showplace for tourists and residents,” the media release said.