Sounds like a title to a bad si-fi flick, right, unfortunately the threat is very real. Years ago Bar Harbor began talking about building a parking garage in the down town area off of West Street. The ideal place is behind the recently built West Street Motel. The land is there, but here is where it gets tricky - how to pay for it.
So a consulting firm was hired and this past week they released their findings - the entire project could be built without it costing the town a dime. Their plan calls for placing parking meters throughout the downtown area, and sadly the town council appears to be behind the idea. But can you really get something for nothing?
The entire venture of getting a free parking garage seems almost to real to believe, and it is. These days you get nothing for free, and in this case "free" will come with a very big price. People come to Bar Harbor for many reasons, and one of them is the lure of a coastal town that has a village charm to it. Line both sides of all the streets in downtown with parking meters and you suddenly lose a big chunk of that charm. And for many, the only thing that is worse than signs telling you that you can only park for one hour is parking meters, nobody likes them, and they are ugly looking to boot.
Hopefully common sense will prevail and the core values the town has held onto for so many years will win out at the end of the day. It is my hope that the town folks who live here year round will raise a shout or two to help kill this plan before it gets any legs under it.
In a town that is obsessed with the size of signs businesses can have outside their establishments, not to mention the colors of paint they can use on their businesses, all in the name of preserving the character of the town, how does parking meters fit in with that? It doesn't, and if anything it takes away from the character of the town and tarnishes the very image the town has fought so hard over the years to uphold.
Yes, the town desperately needs more parking spaces, but this is not the way to go about it. There is a nice section of land for sale right now next door to the town office which would make a nice parking lot and its close to the center of town. No, it will not have all the fancy bells and whistles of a brand new parking garage, but it would address the problem without destroying the small village charm so many hold dear and at only a fraction of the cost of a huge concrete structure.
The good people of Bar Harbor have killed the towns plan to install parking meters.....AMEN.