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Downtown Hudson is thriving: it's time to plan for the future

This week, if you are a business downtown owner you may receive a visit from a member of the Parking Committee, a group made up of representatives from the city of Hudson and the Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau. They are completing the second phase of gathering data from downtown businesses regarding their parking needs both for employees and customers.

"We feel with the vibrancy of Hudson and the great business mix downtown, it makes Hudson a destination," said Kim Heinemann, chamber president. "With the growth comes parking challenges."

"We are working to collect this data to help us determine if we need additional surface parking or a ramp," said Heinemann.

The committee has established short-, mid- and long-term goals. Many of the short-term goals have already been met, including creating an updated parking map, which is now displayed on the kiosk in Lakefront Park as well as the chamber and city of Hudson's websites. New signage is in the process of being installed to help out-of-town visitors easily locate parking lots in the downtown area.

"If you are not familiar with downtown, it's helpful, you can't miss the new signs," continued Heinemann. "It is a good that we have a parking problem. It means are businesses are thriving."

One of the short-term goals of the committee is to remind businesses to save the best parking places for customers and have your staff park in an outer lot. Committee members, including Pete Foster and Andy Kron have researched what other destination areas in Wisconsin do regarding parking. The Chamber is taking the lead and working together with the city to determine what the best approach is to assure that Hudson remains as vibrant as it is.

"We are at a tipping point," said Heinemann. "The time to act is now."

Mid-term goals include identifying any additional parking space options. Long-term goals include a vision for the future. Will a parking ramp or an additional flat lot parking be appropriate? How either of those options would be funded and evaluating the costs for short- and long-term solutions.

"We realize this is a positive thing that we have a parking problem," said Heinemann. "It means are businesses are thriving and it also means we can plan for the future so we do not follow the path of other communities who drove customers away because access became too difficult."

Once the surveys are completed and the data compiled, the committee with have an assessment of parking needs for weekday, weekend and special events days. The short-term trick will be matching those needs to the present inventory of available parking spaces. The Hudson Star-Observer will follow up with survey results and more details regarding future options.

"We have had a lot of successes as the result of working together with the city," said Heinemann. One of those was the addition of 45 additional parking spaces in recent years. "Forward thinking is to have a plan in place for future growth.