St. Paul wants to add parking meters on historic Grand Avenue

- There's a battle brewing on one of St. Paul's most popular destinations. Grand Avenue is lined with shops, restaurants and brownstones, and now the city wants to add parking meters. But there are lots of people ready to fight that plan.

As the changing colors of fall dot the sidewalks and climb the trees of Grand Avenue, there's one sign of the season that remains decidedly green. Business owners are concerned the metered parking on Grand Avenue will come at a steep price.

"This just isn't the place for parking meters,” Ruthena Fink, owner of Grand Jete on Grand Avenue, said.

According to the City of St. Paul, the pilot program could generate nearly $400,000 in revenue every year.  But judging by the signs up and down the historic street, it's clear many business owners believe they'll be picking up the tab.

"If you are driving along and you want to stop for a six pack of beer and you have to pay a dollar you are not going to go there,” Jo Ann Nadeau, manager at 1st Grand Avenue Liquors, said.

Supporters of the proposal include St. Paul City Council member Dave Thune, who believes it will help regulate the sometimes chaotic parking scene.  But critics point out the free parking and challenge of getting a spot is all part of the experience.

On Tuesday night, the Summit Hill Association is scheduled to hold a meeting, where frustration and anger will likely both be on the agenda. Business owners on Grand Avenue are expected to express they do not want the pilot project.

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