Some frustrated with Farmingdale's plan to add paid parking on Main Street
Farmingdale is moving ahead with a plan to have paid parking on its Main Street and in the municipal parking lots behind businesses.
The mayor says it could fund improvements in the village without putting all of the burden on people who pay taxes, but some say it's likely to hurt small businesses.
"I don't like it, anything that costs more money is not good for the consumer," says Christine Rizzuto. "I don't know if that's going to affect the businesses."
Mayor Ralph Ekstrand says the cost to park is not clear, but it could be about 50 cents an hour. Farmingdale village residents would be able to park for free, but visitors would need to pay.
"I'm big on infrastructure - I've always improved our infrastructure and doing so costs money," Ekstrand says. "So, we're putting in metered parking."
Ekstrand adds that $8 million has been spent fixing parking lots - all of it from taxpayer money. He says this will shift some of the expense to visitors.
Joe Fortuna, who owns the Nutty Irishman and other restaurants on Main Street in Farmingdale, says metered parking could keep some customers away especially during off-peak hours.
"You want to make the customer happy," Fortuna says. "Now it's like another roadblock they have."
The mayor says the money from the metered parking would pay for new light posts, buried utility lines, a wider Main Street and possibly security cameras.
Ekstrand is hoping to get the meters up and running by Aug. 1. It would still be free to park by the Long Island Rail Road lots and the parking lot at Weldon Howitt Middle School on weekends and after 4 p.m. on weekdays.