Ludington council drops Stearns Park paid parking option

June 27, 2023

Ludington council drops Stearns Park paid parking option

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief

LUDINGTON — Ludington City Council voted Monday evening to no longer discuss an option of charging parking fees at Stearns Park. The vote followed a lengthy public comment session, with the majority opposed to paid parking, along with two other votes meant to address alternative options to raising funds to offset maintenance of the park. 

Annual maintenance of Stearns Park is about $500,000 a year, paid through the city’s general fund. 

The topic has been discussed at previous council meetings, along with committee meetings and a recent committee-as-a-whole meeting that included the entire council. 

Paid parking was listed as an action items under the Cemetery, Parks, and Recreation/Waterfront portion of the agenda. Prior to that motion, though, Councilor Cheri Stibitz, who is chair of the CPR/W Committee, made a motion to direct her committee to explore other funding options for Stearns Park while still keeping paid parking as an option. The motion was supported by Councilor Kathy Winczewski. The motion was defeated by a 5-2 vote with Stibitz and Winczewski being the only yes votes. 

Following the recommendation by Mayor Mark Barnett, Stibitz then made a motion to explore alternative funding options without considering paid parking at Stearns Park. That motion passed unanimously. 

A third motion was then made to refuse to allow paid parking at Stearns Park. That motion passed 6-1 with Winczewski voting against it. City Manager Mitch Foster noted that the council’s action does not mean that the decision can’t be changed in the future. 

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