Free parking will soon become part of the past at Chicago's popular Montrose Harbor as the city gears up for the installation of parking meters.
Stacey Greene, who along with her family operates the Park Bait Shop at the harbor, says she talked to a city crew working in the area Wednesday and was surprised to learn what was going on.
"I said, 'oh boy,'" Greene told NBC 5, recounting her conversation with the city workers. "He said, 'don' they tell you?' I said ,'No. They don't fill me in on this kind of stuff..."
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot's office said installing parking meters near the harbor was included in the 2021 budget, and the goal is to install meters this summer.
However, according to a statement issued Thursday, "the city is currently surveying the impacted area to determine exactly where they will be installed.”
The office of 46th Ward Ald. James Cappleman, who represents a portion of the area, said revenue collected from the meters will be placed into the city's corporate fund.
Members of the "Montrose Lakefront Coalition," which includes birders, boaters, fisherman and runners, voiced disappointment upon learning the news.
"This is like the last vestige of places where you can really go hang out," explained member and longtime resident Peter Constance. "In the summer this place comes alive with all these families from all over the city... Nowhere to go where you can just enjoy the city and nature for free."
Greene, who's also a member of the group, says it's unclear how the meters will affect her business, which is frequented by visitors to the harbor and Montrose Beach.
"It's not right, the parks are supposed to be free, and people should be able to utilize them at any given time," she said. "Little by little, they are still chopping away and taking way from the average citizen..."