Pass go, take a chance and land on the free parking at the Prendergast Library.
The James Prendergast Free Public Library recently announced that patrons will no longer need to feed a meter to park adjacent to the library.
"People are really, really happy about this," said Bobbie Caswell, Prendergast Library head of reference. "People have wanted (the meters) gone for a long time, and the library board and the city reached an agreement. They both thought it was a good idea, so it happened."
According to Caswell, the city was very cooperative when the library board approached city representatives with the proposal, and Mayor Sam Teresi echoed that sentiment.
"That parking lot has never been a city-owned parking lot," said Teresi. "It's always been owned by the Prendergast Library, and the library has always made the decision that it did not want to be in the parking lot business. ... It takes a lot of effort to maintain a parking lot, and the library wanted to focus on providing library services, and not owning, maintaining, plowing, insuring and policing a parking lot. So the library has historically asked the city to provide those services, and in return, the city was allowed to install meters."
According to Teresi, the city was happy to step away from the arrangement between the city and the library, since both sides agreed that's what would be best for the library, the patrons and the residents of the city.
"They felt they had reached a point where they were comfortable maintaining their own lot," said Teresi. "The city has more than enough other parking facilities and infrastructure to maintain. The arrangement has worked well up to this point, but since the library feels it's not necessary anymore, the city is more than happy to step away. Truly, the city wants to do whatever will help the library prosper. Anything that we can do to support the library in its efforts, we will do."
Teresi went on to call the removal of the meters a win-win-win situation.
"It's the city's job to support the library," said Teresi. "But this new agreement is a win for everyone. The city was probably putting more resources into the lot than we were getting out of it, but I want to make it clear that the city never resented that. We weren't trying to get out of maintaining that lot; we did it for years because the library asked us to. This was our way of supporting the library, but now that the library wants to operate the lot on its own, it's a good solution all the way around. Patrons get to park for free, the library will likely see more patrons use its resources, and the city isn't responsible for maintaining that lot anymore. It all works out very well."