We're generally not excited about digging into our pockets for money to feed a parking meter. But City Clerk Lana Keesling's great idea for repurposing Fort Wayne's old coin-only meters has us eager to grab a handful of change.
As The Journal Gazette's Dave Gong reported recently, Keesling searched for a use for the parking meters after efforts to find a buyer proved fruitless.
She came across an idea to use them as a fundraising tool, partnering with Greater Fort Wayne Inc. for “Meters with a Mission.” Business owners can sponsor one of 30 meters as a collection site for the nonprofit organization of their choice. They are encouraged to turn them into public art projects to entice donors and to match all donations.
“A smaller-scale project like this has been on my radar for several years,” Keesling wrote in an email. “Indianapolis put out meters 2 years ago downtown for donations for the homeless. Other cities have done similar projects such as that.
“No other project that I have researched has had the corporate inclusiveness or the artistic aspects that make this project exciting for the community. The fact that this project is a community project is what will drive it. It's fun and it helps the not-for-profits that are hurting for donations. Every dollar collected is a dollar more than they had prior to this project.”
Keesling credits Kyle Winling of the city's traffic engineering department for encouraging her to expand the project. As of Thursday, only three meters were still available to sponsors, according to Greater Fort Wayne's Brenda Gerber Vincent. The decorated meters will be installed beginning this month and in place until Dec. 31.
Kudos to Keesling and Greater Fort Wayne for turning obsolete equipment into a great community project.