Brainerd council waives downtown parking fees during pandemic
Those who lease parking spots from the city of Brainerd will not be charged for the second quarter of 2020.
City council members agreed during their meeting Monday, April 20, to waive fees for April through June after City Administrator Jennifer Bergman said she heard from a concerned business owner.
The city has 161 parking spots available for lease in the following four lots: Maple Street between the Brainerd Public Library and the Brainerd Post Office; city hall on Laurel Street; Burlington Northern off Front Street behind Crow Wing County Food Co-op; and the alley along the north side of Shep’s on Sixth and Senor Patron’s.
A majority of the spots, Bergman said, are leased by downtown business owners to provide parking for their staff, or — in the case of the Maple Street lot — by students. With most businesses either closed or operating with a limited staff, Bergman said the business owner she talked with was concerned about paying for spots he was not using but wanted to make sure he would still have them when businesses begin running normally again.
The city receives about $42,900 annually — or $3,575 a month — in parking fees, which is about $9,000 less than it costs to maintain them. Although the city already experiences a deficit with the parking lots, Bergman said this is a very trying time for small businesses and encouraged the council to consider waiving fees for the second quarter of 2020.
Council members agreed unanimously.
“Everybody is being affected by this. Everybody’s revenue is decreased,” Council President Gabe Johnson said. “And if we can save them $100, it’s small, but it’s a nice thing we can do.”
The leased spots will continue to be available only for those who lease them and will not be public parking spots. Those who have already paid for the second quarter or who prepaid for the year will be refunded.
“These little things that we can do for our citizens are huge,” Mayor Dave Badeaux said.
THERESA BOURKE may be reached at email@example.com or 218-855-5860. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DispatchTheresa .