Marietta City Council is considering a plan that would make some spots in city-owned parking lots available for rent.
It would reduce the number of free spots downtown but would increase city revenue, some of which would be used for repair and maintenance costs for parking lots.
We think it might be a good plan, if it's kept in check.
The idea being considered is to have some paid parking in three downtown lots but to leave other spaces in the lots free.
We want to encourage city council to still leave the majority of spaces free of charge and all the spaces free and available on evenings and weekends, when there may be festivals or other events happening downtown.
In cities that have parking meters, mostly paid parking areas or not enough available parking, residents and visitors can be discouraged from going there or from staying long.
Marietta's downtown is thriving and we'd like to see it stay that way.
It might also be wise for council to consider other viable options for parking lot income.
For example, a local employer has been using the city-owned Indian Acres lot as its auxiliary parking lot for months, having more than 20 cars there many week days.
Perhaps council could consider charging them a minimal fee to add to the maintenance fund, since they are regularly using the spaces already.
A small fee wouldn't be damaging to the employer-important since it's a valuable part of the community as well-but may prevent or lessen charges for parking for residents downtown in the lots being considered.
Why look for clients to rent spaces when there is already a client at one of the parking lots?
We hope council will consider every option before hitting the wallets of residents and taking away free options.
And if they find they must, we hope they keep the paid spaces to a minimum.