Just a few years ago I could drive up to one of my favorite places to visit in Uptown Marion and easily find a place to park. But this isn't the Marion of the past. The city is undergoing a major revitalization with new shops and restaurants, a new city library, and a renewed interest in the downtown area. That means more people visiting, especially on weekends. So where are they all supposed to park?

Marion mayor Nick AbouAssaly told the Cedar Rapids Gazette "there is no vibrant, active commercial area that doesn't have parking challenges." And he is right. The real problem would be if you could pull right up to the store you wanted with no wait whatsoever! That said, the mayor and other Marion leaders recognize that there need to be more options to make parking in Marion a more pleasant experience.

City of Marion
City of Marion

The Gazette reports that there are currently 625 parking spots in Uptown Marion. Public lots and street parking are marked in blue on the above map. The city is planning a study with a consultant to look at possible solutions. But they are also working on a 'Partners in Parking' program. The Gazette reports that the program hopes to provide more parking in the Uptown area in business parking lots during their non-business hours.

The Gazette reports that city leaders and many business leaders call Marion's parking situation a 'perception problem.' They say the block or two you may have to walk to an Uptown business is still shorter than the walk from your parking spot into a big box store. Another positive about Uptown Marion parking? It's FREE.

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