Caldwell residents express concerns over downtown metering proposal

Posted at 2:49 PM, Nov 07, 2023

CALDWELL, Idaho — Caldwell residents are letting their voices be heard with proposed changes to downtown parking. A public input meeting was held for residents and business owners to hear their concerns.

“They are getting a better understanding of what the proposed paid parking will look like in the city. We're trying to analyze essentially how the public feels about it, what they might recommend as far as to changes that they might provide,” said Steven Jenkins, Economic Development Director for the City of Caldwell.

RELATED | Downtown Caldwell getting meter parking in near future

The proposed meter parking was presented that outlines parking that would cost $1/hr in certain areas and $1.50/hr in others. After revising the initial proposal, the updated plan includes more free parking spaces. Instead of two zones, it's one zone and all parking will be $1/hr.

However, some local businesses are not fully on board with the new proposal.

Valene Ingle is a spokesperson for Gracie Barra Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Caldwell. She says members pay $79 for a membership. With members coming to and from throughout the day, she worries the prices of parking will impact the gym's business.

“It's going to greatly affect our business because we encourage parent engagement. Right now, it's looking like parents are kind of going to do a drop-off situation. Drop their kids off and come back and pick them up,” said Ingle. “They're already feeling the rising cost of food and housing, and so having that to pay for additional parking ... it's just going to strain that budget even more. And that can be the dealbreaker, and then they might have to take their kid out of our gym.”

Ella Ingle is the daughter of Valene. As a high schooler, she likes to go downtown to hang out with friends, but paying for parking for a quick bite is an extra obstacle she'll have to face.

“We're going to go get frozen yogurt, not to pay for parking. You just stop, grab it, and hang out downtown. Not to pay for something extra when we just want to hang out. My big thing coming down here was to see what the council was saying about it and if they were listening to our voices,” said Ella.

"We have a lot of new patrons and a lot of new citizens in our community and that's been terrific, so it is a change, a transition nonetheless. We're trying to make it as palpable as possible and taking in the feedback that we can,” said Jenkins.

The updated proposed meter plan will be talked about at the Caldwell City Council meeting being held November 7 at 6pm.