Come, park, shop

City waives two-hour parking limit to lure consumers

“Peace on Earth” is a common refrain during the holiday season. The City of Cortez also wants peace of mind for downtown Christmas shoppers.

To encourage patronage of Main Street businesses, the Cortez Police Department has declared a “free parking” reprieve for the month of December. Rules against unauthorized parking in handicapped spaces still apply.

“We want people to take their time and not worry,” public information officer Angelia Young said.

The change is temporary. Usual enforcement will resume Jan. 1, 2013.

Talk of “free parking” is in jest, because Cortez has been without parking meters on Main Street for at least 20 years, Young said. When the city realized it spent more money repairing meters ­— broken from old age or vandalism — than it collected with deposited change, it hired a parking officer to make sure cars don’t overstay the two-hour limit.

Under normal circumstances, the officer patrols the street and makes a chalk mark on the tires of newly parked cars. If the car is still present when she makes another round two hours later, she doles out a ticket.

Until the new year dawns, however, drivers can rest easy and shop till they drop without fear of fines.