Free parking in downtown St. Marys to end July 1

Photo by Amy Cherry
Amy Cherry
Staff Writer

Following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic the City of St. Marys extended free parking in the downtown area. With Elk County moving into the green phase and many businesses now re-opening St. Marys City Council voted unanimously to reinstate full fare parking as of July 1.
This includes all metered parking on street, in municipal lots, and in the City parking garage. Meter violation enforcement will also resume in July.
During Monday evening’s St. Marys City Council meeting Councilman Bob Roberts said he sees the free parking being abused, specifically by business owners and their employees utilizing the parking spots for all day use in front of their establishments which are meant for customer use.
“Having meters does address a lot of that. It’s only fair that the people who do want to come downtown that there is a place for them to park. At some point we really need to get it back in place,” Roberts said.
St. Marys Mayor Lou Radkowski noted while the city is officially still under an emergency declaration, he said it would be nice to have that revenue stream coming back into the city. 
“For six years every council has gone back and forth with the issue,” Radkowski said.
He reported the city anticipates a $180,000 shortfall in the budget from lost parking revenue this year.