FOX47 NEWS - No More Free Parking

Jeff Angileri
Mar 16, 2008, 8:24 PM

At the end of the month followers of the First United Methodist Church will no longer be able to park at the Manchester Garage,
A place they have been using for nearly two decades.

Garage owner Fred Mohs is taking the parking away because of the churches stance on helping the homeless.

He says their shelter and others in the downtown area are acting like magnets.

Attracting homeless people to the area.

They are costing downtown Madison a lot. This should be a wholesome clean, wonderful living room for all of the state and the preponderance of homeless infrastructure is wrecking it, Mohs says.

So he's using his garage as a bargaining chip.
We have until April 1st to either terminate our overflow shelter, or to lose the parking privileges, says church spokesman Bill White.

Church goers say the decision affects their most vulnerable followers.

I think that there are a lot of people, especially people who have disabilities or people who are older in age, that definitely need something that is close and convenient for them, says church goer Laura Meitner.

Still, the church is taking a stand and keeping the shelter.

Many followers applaud the decision

It's more important for us to be true to our mission at that point rather than just consider our only option for parking, says Stuart McKirdy.

The church and Mohs have one thing in common.

Both agree that the homeless situation downtown is becoming a problem.

But the church says forcing people to sleep on the streets isn't an option.

So worshipers will be finding somewhere else to park.

Even if it means walking a few blocks.

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