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Free parking for Tea Party?

April 20, 2011

Free parking for Tea PartyThe Indianapolis Tea Party has asked the city to waive the parking bill for its April 15 "Tax Day Rally" at the Indiana Statehouse. Members of the group parked in metered spaces closed off to public parking by "emergency order" of the Indianapolis Police Department.

Without a waiver from the Board of Public Works, the group would have to pay $450, or $15 per meter per day for the 30 meters it reserved along Washington Street, said DPW spokeswoman Molly Deuberry.

Nonprofit groups are eligible to apply for the waiver. The groups submit requests to the Special Events Office within the Department of Code Enforcement, which forwards its recommendation to the Board of Public Works.

The Board of Public Works will consider the Tea Party parking meter waiver at 1 p.m. April 27 in the second-floor Public Assembly Room of the City-County Building.

This year, parking meter waivers have gone to the Indiana Blood Center for its blood drives, the first annual Iwo Jima memorial service, the Big Ten Basketball Tournament, the St. Patrick's Day Parade and an open house for the FDIC firefighter training conference, records show.

Union groups that rallied at the Statehouse in March did not request or receive a meter waiver.

Deuberry said the Tea Party event is the first time in memory a politically minded group characterized as a nonprofit has applied for a parking meter waiver. She noted groups typically request bagged meters so they can use the public space for an event, not to provide protected parking for their members, although both uses are allowed.

The city can bag each parking meter for up to 19 days per year under its meter privatization deal with ACS. After that, the city must reimburse ACS for lost meter revenue.

To read the meter waiver application and proposed Board of Public Works resolution, click here.

UPDATE: The Board of Public Works has denied the Tea Party request.

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