Clearing up Decorah parking for the holidays

DECORAH, Iowa (KWWL) – The holiday shopping season is underway and as always, there is the push to shop local. This can be a problem for downtowns designed for foot traffic and not car traffic.

Decorah leaders are hoping to alleviate a parking problem by asking shop employees to park off the main business area of Water Street.

“We’re extremely busy from the minute the doors open to the minute the doors close. It’s been a wonderful season so far,” said retail manager Nicole Darrington.

Toys, board games and a giant toy ferris wheel line the walls and shelves of Donlon Pharmacy in downtown Decorah. Like many business, they’re seeing a lot of foot traffic as the holiday season gets underway.

“It’s the busy season. A lot of businesses make a lot of their money right now,” said David Lester with the Decorah Downtown Betterment Association.

Customers want to park close to where they shop instead of parking blocks away. Folks at the DDBA and Chamber of Commerce are urging businesses to free up more parking spaces.

“It’s just a matter of education every year to try and work with businesses to make sure they get the message out to their employees to try and park in the block north or the block south of the main downtown area,” Lester said.

He said they’ve passed out fliers and other documentation urging businesses to make the switch.

Darrington said the extra available parking would be appreciated.

“We would love it if they could park a lot closer than they do. We do have issues with parking. We are not allowed to park around here. We park about a block up the road or behind a block that way.”

They said as Decorah becomes more of a tourist destination, parking comes at a premium.

Lester also said some businesses have already worked with the city to create “customer only” parking to alleviate the issue.

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