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Manchester aldermen considering meters to aid food pantry

New Hampshire Union Leader

May 06. 2013 10:55PM

MANCHESTER - More parking meters could soon be coming to downtown, only these would generate revenue for charity, not the city.

The aldermen's Committee on Public Safety on Monday approved a plan to install six coin operated meters where passersby could deposit their spare change.

The idea was proposed by Ward 3 Alderman Pat Long, who said it would allow people to donate their change to the needy without being concerned about how it might be used.

"People feel guilty about just giving change to people," he said.

The city's Parking Division has had a surplus of coin-operated meters since it installed computerized multi-space meters downtown, and so the cost to the city for the project would only be about $260, according to Parking Manager Denise Boutilier.

The money deposited in the meters would go to the New Horizons for New Hampshire soup kitchen and shelter.

Long said the meters would be specially painted and marked to differentiate them from regular parking meters.

He said the Art Institute expressed a willingness to participate in the painting of the meters, without charge.

Several cities have taken to refashioning their parking meters to raise money for charity, including Las Vegas, Nashville, Atlanta and San Francisco.

Ward 4 Alderman Jim Roy said he saw the meters in Nashville.

"I don't know how well they're doing, but I wasn't approached by any panhandlers," he said.

On a motion from Alderman Phil Greazzo, Ward 10, the committee voted to have the first $260 raised from the meters cover the cost of installation.

The proposal still must be approved by the full Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

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