A report that a machine took a person’s credit card and did not return it turned out to be a hoax, Katz said. Even that “problem” caused a rapid response from the village and ATI.
“We heard that someone lost their credit card and we were scrambling to get a key out to the machine,” he said. “When we finally did get the machine opened, it turned out there was no credit card.”
At the public forum, Helmut Michelitsch, owner of Metro Cleaners & Coin Laundries in the Doubleday Field parking lot, was the only person to speak out against the paid parking, but he said he raised the concerns of many people.
“I have not talked to one merchant that is happy with the program right now,” said Michelitsch, who also owns a laundry in Oneonta. “The feeling is it alienates local customers and residents. They just have this thing about paid parking and because of it, they don’t want to come here.”
Katz said the turnout at the public hearing showed that the opponents of paid parking are over-generalizing when they declare the paid parking will drive away business or that the initial problems with the system prove it needs to be shut down.
“There’s no uniform opinion in Cooperstown on anything,” he said. “To say no one will come because of paid parking … I am hesitant, less than two weeks in to make such an ironclad declaration. To say we should just shut it down because there have been initial problems … you can draw your own conclusions about why people would say that.”
In addition, Katz said that there have been plenty of spaces available on streets with free parking, such as on Lake, River, Elm, Fair and Chestnut streets.
“There’s free parking and all day parking available,” he said. “The idea that you can only park in the village now in paid parking is wrong.”