Parking meter program returns to help boost downtown Christmas shopping

By Geoff Smith (@GeoffSmithLNN on Twitter)
December 4, 2017 - 11:26am

LETHBRIDGE – A team of roving ambassadors is roaming downtown streets, to make sure a parking ticket doesn’t ruin someone’s Christmas.

The Heart of our City Committee is once again supporting the annual parking meter program from Dec. 4-22, Monday-Friday from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Ambassadors provided by Lethbridge Family Services DaCapo Program work in two-person teams, plugging expired parking meters and leaving behind notices on windshields thanking the owners for shopping downtown.

“We want you to come to local businesses,” Coun. Mark Campbell said. “We’re just making this so much more vibrant and we’re going to continue to do that as the years go along.”

Heart of Our City puts up the approximately $6,000 cost, which is administered by the Downtown Business Revitalization Zone (DBRZ). The money covers wages for the ambassadors, as well as printing costs for the notices and the meter costs themselves.

Last year, the program’s ambassadors plugged around 7,000 expired meters. Several drivers contacted city hall and the DBRZ afterwards to thank them for sparing them a ticket, the city said.

Business owner Wallie Desruisseaux of Kapow Comics said it’s a great thing for the downtown to remove some of the stress that comes with parking.

“Every cent spent downtown stays in Lethbridge. We’re all local shop owners. We have employees—I have five employees,” he said, adding the downtown is home to 500 local businesses.

“That fear of not getting a ticket allows them to explore downtown a bit, instead of abiding what the clock says.”

The parking program has been funded by Heart of Our City since 2007.  

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