Recently, the town (Athens, Ohio) that I live in got new parking meters. Along with these new meters, came new parking rates. The increased rates very from 50% to 100%. The highest increased rates being within the Uptown business district. Last week I attended a small gathering of other local business owners, residents that have interest in making improvements to our community and someone from the Mayor’s Office. The new parking rates came up in our conversation and the gentleman from the Mayor’s Office explained the city’s mythology behind the new parking meters and rates. It was very interesting and I do understand the mythology behind it because parking is an issue in Athens. But as a resident with a disability, I’m concerned that the new parking rates effect the city’s commitment of becoming a more inclusive community. With rates of a dollar per hour in the Uptown business district, I’m concerned that most residents of the community with Disabilities will avoid going Uptown. As we all know, most people that live with disabilities usually live on a fixed income. I feel that these new parking rates add an obstacle for people with disabilities to access Uptown Athens. But there is a simple solution to this issue, the city has the capability of programming each parking meter individually. I think the city should handicap parking cheaper if we really want to be a more inclusive community. I would like to urge you to join me in contacting our city officials about this issue.