Owensboro to waive visitor parking tickets

By Stuart Peck
Posted by Mike Mardis

Got a parking ticket? No sweat, there's a spirit of forgiveness in downtown Owensboro, but just for out of state visitors.

Many of us have lost track of time when visiting downtown, thinking, 'I'll be right back.'

But, what do you find when you return to a pesky parking ticket. Now Owensboro will be ripping up that first ticket for visitors from out of state.

Jimmy Decker, a manager at Famous Bistro, is used to out of state visitors in his downtown restaurant. Some of his guests come from as far away as France.

Decker said he's on board with a new program that forgives visitors if they get a parking ticket while visiting downtown.

"It puts a nice hand out for the community," Decker said. "It says, 'we're a nice town, we'll let you slip on your first parking ticket.'"

Marian Cosgrove, OPD, said the department understands visitors lose track of time.

"We know it's stressful whenever you go to a new city and you're trying to enjoy yourself and visit the plays and the restaurants and the shopping only to find that you haven't paid attention to the local parking rules and regulations," Cosgrove said.

The new rule isn't meant to let visitors off the hook completely. They'll still get a parking ticket, but included will be a slip of paper that tells them the parking rules downtown and tells them where they can go to get the parking ticket waived.

Cosgrove said the program is about making the town seem more friendly.

"You go to visit a big city and you get a citation and you walk away thinking, that's the only thing on your mind was how negative that experience was because you were so unfamiliar with that town," Cosgrove said.

Decker hopes the new forgiveness policy means visitors won't leave with a bad taste in their mouth.

"There are the occasional people who just aren't used to a parking ticket and have never had one," Decker said. "It's almost like it's something that may be going on your record, it does offend a few people sometimes."

The parking tickets vary in price in Owensboro from $2 up to $30.