The people of Illinois have frequented the 200-acre Centennial Park since its popularity grew more during the pandemic. Therefore, Munster residents complained about the traffic from Illinois residents using the park. As a result, the Town of Munster decided to charge a parking fee to all non-residents.
Munster residents can visit the park at no cost, but non-residents have to pay $2.00 an hour or $5.00 a day between April and October, or $120 for an annual pass. The suggested parking notice charges will be:
- 1st notice: $45 only if paid within 15 days of notice
- 2nd notice: $85 if paid after 16 days and after that of the notice date
It should, however, be noted this agreement is contingent upon review by the town’s attorney.
The lot profit share is in the ratio of 80:20, with 80% going to the client, the Town of Munster, and 20% going to Asta Parking [a parking management company]. Anticipated gross revenue for Munster and Asta from April to October is projected to be a sum of $417,672. The total projected expenses are $74,318, leaving $343,354. Going by the 80% lot share ratio, the Town of Munster will have a projected share of $274,683.
We must establish that most non-residents from Illinois who use the Centennial Park are minority people. The annual fee payment of $120 is supposed to give access to park privileges for one year. However, according to the signs posted by the Town of Munster, this pass covers from June through December. Actually, it only covers from June to October because there is no fee from November through March each year. Therefore, this practice appears to be deceptive against all non-Munster residents.
I want to call on the Town of Munster to honor the true meaning of an annual pass, which is one year. The current exorbitant price of $120 should be reduced to $60 for a semiannual pass, because July 15, 2022, is halfway to an annual pass, according to the contract by Asta and Munster.
In addition, veterans, the disabled, and senior citizens should be offered discounted parking fees, as they won’t be able to afford this due to limited income and struggle with our current state of inflation. This will deny them access to the park and getting the required exercise for their health.
Munster should also put up a visible sign upon entering and leaving Centennial Park notifying visitors they have only 15 minutes to pay for parking or leave the park before receiving a violation. Most nonresidents are unaware of the 15-minute turnaround rule that generates additional revenue.
The park represents an important part of the memories for all visitors, including senior citizens, the disabled, and veterans. Unfortunately, putting an exorbitant price on its use will deter them from using the park. Is this the plan for Illinois residents?
Elvis Slaughter, Illinois Resident
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