Metro Square Shopping center towing customers not visiting busin - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Metro Square Shopping center towing customers not visiting businesses

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MIDDLETOWN, CT (WFSB) -

It’s not your imagination, it’s harder to find a parking spot in downtown Middletown now.

Because of that, private lot owners are protecting what’s rightfully theirs and are aggressively towing those who are taking advantage of a free lot.

Police have been bombarded with so many complaints, they’ve issued a warning.

The problem really started when a parking garage on Dingwall Drive had to be torn down because of safety issues.

Residents started going to a free lot, but that’s not happening now.

There are now flashing lights to show the private lot is only for customers of Metro Square.

“I’ve always parked here for free because I’ve met up with my friends and whatnot,” said Tara Kowalski.

The days of saving a few dollars in Middletown are over. Now, parking in Metro Square has become a costly game of hide and seek.

“I’m a student, so I try to save as much money as I can,” said Kowalski.

Kowalski and her friends came from Colchester and were surprised to learn their secret hideaway has turned into a place that’s now watched like a hawk.

After the lot across the street was torn down, the owners, SCG Capital Corporation, saw an influx of cars parking there, and it was affecting their tenants, like Herd Brewery.

“It can hinder business. If people are coming to your business and can’t park, they go elsewhere,” said Dan Sergi, head chef at Herd Brewery.

Numerous signs throughout the lot were being ignored so SCG decided to get aggressive and start towing the cars.

Retrieval costs can reach close to $200.

Shortly after, Middletown police were fielding complaints, leading them to go on the record, posting, “It is well within SCG Capital Corporation's legal rights to tow vehicles off their property.  This is a private company not associated with the city of Middletown’s parking department in any way.”

In addition, more warnings have been posted and businesses have noticed a difference.

After learning about the crackdown, Kowalski wasn’t taking chances either.

“I guess I’ll go pay on the street now because I need my car for work tomorrow,” said Kowalski.

This parking problem will hopefully come to an end soon.

The former garage is expected to be transformed into a gravel lot in the coming months.

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