The Downtown Vernon Association is requesting free parking on Saturdays in 2021 to boost recovery efforts of businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Caitlin Clow - Vernon Morning Star)

The Downtown Vernon Association is requesting free parking on Saturdays in 2021 to boost recovery efforts of businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Caitlin Clow - Vernon Morning Star)

Free Saturday parking in Vernon would boost business recovery: DVA

Downtown Vernon Association calls for free parking every Saturday to support local businesses amid COVID-19

The Downtown Vernon Association is calling for free parking every Saturday as an effort to support local business amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a letter to council, the DVA requested the City of Vernon consider the possibility of implementing free metered parking every Saturday in 2021.

Over the years, the city has granted an average of seven free parking days and two non-enforcement days per year in support of the DVA’s annual events and promotion calendar.

“Due to COVID-19, the DVA’s marketing strategy for the BIA (business improvement area) has shifted focus from large public events to sustained activity-based promotions and ambient entertainment that allows for downtown Vernon to be physically distant yet socially connected,” DVA executive director Susan Lehman wrote.

The merits of the two-hour metered parking system are recognized by the DVA, Lehman wrote, but free metered parking on Saturdays, in line with the city’s free surface Saturday parking, would benefit all businesses in the core.

“We are requesting that the City of Vernon recognizes that the small businesses downtown, many of whom cannot take advantage of the city’s generous sidewalk and patio programs due to the nature of their business or industry, would benefit from having free metered parking,” Lehman wrote.

“The City of Vernon’s support is crucial to the recovery efforts to downtown business owners.”

The DVA’s request will be up for discussion during the Monday, Oct. 26, meeting of council.

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@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

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