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Green Bay business owner pitches free parking for service industry employees

The proposal applies only to parking ramps, not parking meters for downtown service industry employees making $15 an hour or less
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Posted at 5:26 PM, Sep 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-15 14:31:21-04

GREEN BAY, Wis. (NBC 26) — If you work downtown and are in the service industry, no matter how hard you work, you could still be on a tight budget.

"I open, (and) close," Mad Chicken employee Gage Finley said. "Sometimes you know, when money is tight, it does get hard paying $11 a day for parking."

"There's a lot of workers downtown that don't make over $15 an hour, and there's no parking alternatives for them," The Creamery employee Scott Zernicke said.

But, service industry employees downtown making $15 an hour or less could be getting a free alternative.

"Economically, it makes sense to me," Green Bay business owner David Bartikofsky said.

Bartikofsky pitched an idea to Alderman Mark Steuer, where those service workers park for free in the downtown area.

"We can't change the world," Bartikofsky said. "But we can change small things in this world."

Bartikofsky says his idea for free parking applies to parking ramps, but does not include parking meters.

"You need meters for your customers," Bartikofsky said.

Now, Steuer is bringing up Bartikofsky's request to his colleagues.

"Citizens have a bigger say than they even know sometimes," Steuer said.

Bartikofsky's pitch is listed on the agenda for possible action for Wednesday night's committee meeting.

If the proposal passes, it goes to the full council.

"I think for me, it's more or less let's listen to the conversation," Steuer said. "Let's see what's out there."

"This is a small thing we can change on," Bartikofsky said.

That Bartikofsky believes could help downtown businesses and the people who work for them.

According to the city, parking in downtown Green Bay is free for everyone after 6 p.m. on weekdays, as well as on weekends and holidays.

The city has three parking ramps available on Main, Pine and Cherry streets.

Between 3 and 5 a.m., parking is not allowed on any city streets.

In an update, Steuer told NBC 26 Thursday afternoon the Improvement and Services committee did not approve the proposal. Instead, committee members referred the item back to staff. Steuer says staff is in the process of updating their parking utility plan, and they will implement the concerns brought up during the meeting. Steuer says the city's parking utility plan could be updated by January or February of next year.

Another part of Bartikofsky's pitch includes free parking for veterans in the parking ramps. But Steuer says Bartikofsky did not make that request in the initial communication to him, hence the reason it was not listed on the agenda. Steuer says free parking for veterans could be brought up separately or in a different meeting.