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      No More Free Parking: Popular Downtown Lot Now For Park Visitors Only

      Franque Thompson OMAHA (KPTM)- Free-loaders at a popular downtown parking lot will now have to pay up or find a new place to park their cars. The city has made parking changes the lot intended for Heartland of America Park visitors. Omaha Parks and Recreation director Brook Bench said the 100 stall lot is full on a daily basis. He said downtown office workers began to fill the free lot, leaving no room for park visitors. A three hour limit was placed for visitor parking only, leaving the business drivers out of luck. "I'm definitely going to have to find a new spot," said Tim Culley before getting into his car. A sign about the new rule is posted at the lot's entrance. Notices about the new change were also placed on windows, just in case drivers don't see the sign. The city said people who still want to park in the lot while at work for the day can do so. Drivers will have to purchase a monthly parking tag for $47.50. This is the same price for other city owned surface lots. Bench said the plan is to generate enough money to hire security for the lot, which Culley said is definitely needed. "Seen a few fights and stuff happen down here. I know a couple of my friends have had cars that got broken into and stuff," said Culley. The new rule began May 1st. The city said the change is part of its ongoing effort to improve the economic efficiency of its parking lots and garages. Bench believe three hours is a good time limit for those visiting the park. However, if a car is parked in the lot more than three hours, city officials said the driver will get a ticket. fthompson@kptm.com
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