On-street parking fees increase as a first step

By Beau Ebenezer

February 25, 2014 Updated Feb 26, 2014 at 12:00 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- On-street parking fees will be going up in Peoria, making way for free parking in the future.

In a 7 to 4 vote, the Peoria City Council approved a price hike to $1.00 an hour at street parking meters.

Parking deck fees will be lowered by 50 cents to $1.00 per hour as well.

"If we are ever going to get a retail jump started again downtown and get a critical mass of people, I believe we must take those meters, cut them out, and throw them away," said 2nd District Councilman Chuck Grayeb.

"I don't think we can just raise our nose to $327,000 per year that we get off of meters," said Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis. "We can't say we will just make up for it because we have all of this business coming downtown."

The changes goes into effect April 1.

In the future, council members said they want to see free on-street parking for the first two hours.