IDAHO SPRINGS, Colo. — Idaho Springs, a town with a population of 1,700 just off of Interstate 70 has seen many changes over the years.
From their first fast-food restaurant 20 years ago, to the change coming on Wednesday that ends free parking.
“People come into our community they drive around and they leave because they get upset they can’t find a parking place," said Mayor Mark Hillman.
City Council unanimously voted to add metered parking to the downtown area.
Mayor Hillman hopes that will decrease the amount of people who drive to Idaho Springs, and then leave their cars parked near local businesses all day.
"Most of the communities across the state are having to go to paid parking and it’s a management program," said Hillman.
The metered parking will be a trial program from May through October. It will help the city find out if they need to build a parking garage, according to Mayor Hillman.
"So this is part of the plan of gathering the data, to see if we really need 400 more parking places or do we really need 200 more parking places," said Hillman.
The cost will vary depending on how long people are parked, but the first three hours are $1 an hour.
“So is a dollar an hour going to create an issue for people who want to come and stop in Idaho Springs," asked Randy Watson, the co-owner of The Frothy Cup.
He doesn't think so.
Across the street at the pizza place, Beau Jo's, the manager hopes paid parking means customers will move in and out of the restaurant more quickly, but she is worried about employee parking.
“We have over 100 employees that work for us," said Alli Bair. "So probably about 60 plus a day so for all of us to park in the parking lot we’re a little bit concerned about that."
Mayor Hillman said the plan includes specific lots for employee parking and permit parking for residents.
"If we don’t evolve and we don’t improve our community, we’re gonna go away," said Hillman.
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