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DDA chairman Bob Blumberg advocates for change

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"Being progressive is very difficult," Blumberg told members of the DDA Thursday. "I want you to think about things that represent change."

Change seems likely as it relates to parking downtown. What kind of change is yet to be determined. Blumberg said he was a little disappointed that only 25 merchants and property owners have responded to a survey on parking that was sent out following a report on a consultant's report which has recommended paid premium parking on Broad Street.

"We need to get more employers buy in on this whole project," Blumberg said.

Downtown Parking Manager Becky Smyth said those 25 responses were evenly split on their support for paid parking, but an overwhelming majority said they would use parking decks if the decks were free and they had to pay to park on the street.

Smyth said more than 300 responses have been received from the public-at-large and 81 percent said they were opposed to paid parking on Broad Street. Blumberg said that didn't surprise him, but that he was happy that 67 percent said they would use a deck if it was free as opposed to paid parking on Broad.

Outreach committee chairman David Prusakowski said block meets have been scheduled with merchants in March and April to brief business leaders and property owners on a wide variety of issues ranging from parking to events being planned for the downtown district. The first meeting will be held March 6 for people associated with the 100 block. The time and location for those meetings will be announced at a later date.

Also at the meeting, the DDA approved a $1,000 facade grant for Ann Pullen for work at her building at 101-105 Broad St.