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Parking in downtown Vidalia is a prime example of the phrase “Catch 22.” It means more activity in the heart of the Sweet Onion City, but it also means there is a parking problem.

It was the parking issue that brought several downtown merchants and business owners to a meeting Thursday night at The Pal to discuss with the Downtown Vidalia Associations Executive Director Tonya Parker, Vidalia City Manager Nick Overstreet, and Vidalia’s Chief of Police James Jermon about what can be done about parking.

“We do have a problem, but that’s because we are growing and progressing and we want to continue to do that,” Parker said.

Many of the merchants concurred that it’s not the shoppers or clients who are causing the parking debacle; it is some employees of downtown businesses who chose to park in front of other businesses while keeping their own spaces in front open.

According to Overstreet, in the three-block area of downtown there are 283 free parking spaces which equates to about three spaces per every business.

“There is plenty of parking; we just need to be good neighbors and think about other businesses downtown who also need available parking for their customers,” noted Parker.

Several concerns and ideas were tossed about during the meeting, but no definite solution was found except to encourage those employees to utilize spaces at The Ronnie A. Dixon City Park or at the parking area at the gazebo on Leader Street.

Parker said she will keep on top of the parking problems and continue to encourage employers and employees of downtown businesses to consider their clientele when it comes to where they park their vehicles each day.

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