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Chester County Press

Uncle Irvin: Parking garages are now in vogue

02/24/2015 03:42PM ● By Richard Gaw

The boroughs of Kennett Square and Oxford have many small shops and restaurants which are not thriving because of the lack of parking.

It's been that way for the last 45 years Uncle Irvin has lived here.

The parking garage in Kennett, which charges $700 annually for all-day parking for employees who are coughing up a .5 percent personal income tax to boot, along with meters gives the borough very little net income, needs to be enlarged because Genesis, the company that spawned the garage, wants to expand in the borough. The problem here is coming up with $3.1 million to expand the garage. Borough officials at this time are not looking at any alternatives.

Now the Oxford Borough Council has voted to conduct a feasibility study with an eye toward building a parking structure in the business district. Council is also searching for funding, just like Kennett Square.

All well and good.

Consumers -- given the choice of free parking at nearby malls and restaurants or paying for a parking space in the boroughs -- will not spend a lot of time making that choice. Outside of local employees, no one will use the garages, and there will be little increase in downtown traffic.

Uncle Irvin's idea of buying and demolishing some poorly maintained houses in the business area for free parking lots -- which is a lot cheaper than building a parking garage or expanding one -- has not even been considered by either borough council members, who are not known for their brain power.

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