No free holiday parking in Corpus Christi

December 9, 2011 10:16:32 AM PST
The shopping tradition of free parking for the holidays in one South Texas city has been halted due to the lagging economy.

Corpus Christi officials, for more than 20 years, have covered downtown parking meters with "Happy Holiday" bags to encourage shopping.

The Corpus Christi Caller-Times reported Thursday that downtown annual sales tax revenue has declined since 2007, dropping from $662,000 to about $612,000 last year.

Assistant city manager Oscar Martinez says lackluster sales haven't offset lost parking revenue, between Thanksgiving and the start of the new year. Martinez says the city would lose an estimated $30,000 if it didn't charge for parking during the holidays.

Critics say downtown workers take advantage of the free meters, making it tough for shoppers to find a place to park.

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