Business owners voice frustrations at meeting on proposal to get rid of free parking in, around City Market

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Some tempers flared Thursday at a meeting over a plan to eliminate free parking in and around the city’s popular City Market.

Shop tenants within the City Market complex and business owners in the surrounding River Market District fear new parking meters will chase away customers.

“You’re basically going to kill everything off,” said Tony Miller, an attorney with an office adjacent to City Market.

The plans call for a $3 fee for the first three hours and an extra dollar for every hour after that in five city-owned parking lots in and around City Market.

City leaders described it as a kind of mixed blessing that comes with a vibrant, growing neighborhood.

“Success breeds change, and change is not always something people enjoy,” said Deb Churchill, the property manager for City Market.

Other business owners believe new River Market residents are using up the free spots and leaving their cars there longterm.

“As the apartments come in and as the streetcar comes in, people park, and they’re gone all day,” said Dave Hawley, owner of the Arabia Steamboat Museum in City Market. “And that’s not fair for all of our customers.”

The new parking fees are scheduled to begin by next month.

Shop tenants within the City Market complex will get parking passes for their employees. People who work in businesses around City Market will not get those passes.