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City scraps ineffective Christmas parking promotion

Hendersonville City Council members said "bah, humbug" to free parking for Christmas shoppers. Except they weren't being Scrooge. Free parking didn't work.

 

The City Council killed the free parking promotion that it had authorized in recent years after business owners complained that downtown employees filled the free spaces before stores opened and kept paying customers from the most convenient parking.

City Manager John Connet and Main Street director Lew Holloway recommended that the council scrap the meter-bagging because it wasn't working. In fact, Connet told the council, it backfired because public lots filled all day with employees' cars meant customers had to walk even farther.

Three Chopt owner Matthew Rogers was among the merchants who complained that bagging meters in the Azalea lot had hurt his business because all-day parkers took all the spaces, forcing his customers to park farther away. During the election campaign, Councilman Ron Stephens repeated the story about complaints shopkeepers made to him when city lots filled up before 9 in the morning.