Are things getting better?
Social distancing used to be called asocial or antisocial behavior. Machines were created to avoid physical exertion. Now, we create exercise machines for physical exertion. Criminals wore masks, but now socially conscious people wear them. Isolation was called a cruel and unusual punishment but now is called self-quarantine. People were attracted to crowds, now they avoid them. Homeschooling was almost banned, today it is the way our kids are learning. People were taught to think, now they just ask Goggle or Alexa for answers. People used to talk, now they text. Social gatherings have been reduced to a video conference. People used to track, things, and animals, but now people and what they do is being tracked by the authorities. Winters were cold and springs were warm, but now winters are mild and springs are cold. As communication has increased, the value of what is communicated has decreased. The best products were once meant to last for many years, now they are to be improved and replaced yearly. So, are things getting better or are they just being replaced?
Parking in Lake Geneva.
Parking is back on the agenda and in the thoughts of the Lake Geneva City Council members. The newly hired parking manager, Seth Elder, has his work cut out for him, especially since he does not have any experience in parking. He has reached out to a couple of communities to see how they are handling the parking situation and some are still charging for parking. He did not mention if parking is being utilized in those communities with the “stay at home” order in place. With people having nowhere to go, how much money can parking really bring in?
Lake Geneva is looking for ways to make up lost revenue due to the COVID-19 crisis, and one way of doing this is increasing parking to $2 an hour across the board. The city is looking to open the parking kiosks soon to help generate some revenue, but will it be enough to cover the costs associated with it? The businesses downtown don’t believe so. They are concerned that the people visiting Lake Geneva won’t have extra money to spend after months off work. Those prospective customers are already having trouble paying bills and putting food on the table. When they do make a trip to Lake Geneva they won’t necessarily be shopping in the shops or eating in restaurants. Many come to enjoy the parks, the shore path, and the lake, and those are not revenue items.
Although visitors won’t necessarily have much disposable income to spend, the businesses still have rent and bills due. Charging for parking, let alone increasing the rate, might discourage visitors from coming and enjoying the downtown area.
Cindy Flower came up with a great compromise. She recommended giving fifty percent off parking if the money is paid through an app that way the city gets the revenue and the visitors have an incentive to shop downtown when things do open. Unfortunately, a motion to start charging for parking as soon as possible and to keep the rate and hours as is was made and passed. For the next three weeks, parking will be done on the current kiosks, then the following week the fifty new kiosks will be installed. It will take a week to get them all in, and up and running. Hopefully, things go smoothly and the kinks will be worked out before the busy season comes upon us.