City gives gift of free parking for holidays

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 14, 2005

What’s a holiday gift that everyone can use, no one will ever return and is one size-fits-all? Free parking!

And that’s just the early Christmas gift that Ironton residents are receiving from the city.

Residents may have already noticed many parking meters in the downtown business district are covered up and advertising free two-hour parking.

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Of course, the city isn’t just giving away parking spots out of the goodness of their hearts.

Mayor John Elam said that he hoped that free and available parking would help drive people to shop in the downtown area.

“It’s been done for several years to allow free parking to encourage people to shop in downtown Ironton,” Elam said. “I think it encourages downtown shopping.”

The city has gone above and beyond just free parking. Some of the meters are decorated for the holiday, masquerading as lollipops or stacks of presents, helping turn the downtown into a winter wonderland.

Elam said that nothing was done to offset the cost of not collecting from meters and distributing tickets. The city will just have to hope that the investment pays off in the cash registers of local businesses.

Although Elam wasn’t sure how long the freebie would continue, but he said it will at least last until Christmas Day.