I am a local business owner (Capitol Grounds Cafe) writing about the hotel/public parking garage. I grew up in Montpelier, graduated from Montpelier High School and worked in many of Montpelier’s old institutions. Montpelier has evolved over the years. Rarely does a business continue beyond a generation. People go into business to pursue their passion and hope to be successful enough to make ends meet. Local business adds to the vitality of the community, but make no mistake, running a business is hard.
Opponents say the process of the new hotel/public parking structure was flawed. Although the project was presented on the city ballot and approved by voters, there is now an appeal that has brought the process to a halt.
Business people are on the front lines, hearing the complaints daily from customers who come to town. And while some people claim the hotel will not have a positive effect on our downtown businesses, I am certain it will.
The business community is invested in Montpelier and we know that many of the local residents are invested in us. The reality is that it’s hard to make ends meet solely on purchases made by local residents. Consider, Montpelier is the state capital and the cultural and social center of central Vermont. We need tourists and the people who come here to get their license, register a car, visit the State House, or pass through on their way to somewhere else. We need a place for them to park and we need a place for more tourists to stay.
Just as things have changed since I grew up, Montpelier will continue to evolve. We need to a public parking garage to accommodate the people who come to Montpelier because they are a significant part of keeping Montpelier a vibrant city.
Bob Watson, Montpelier. The wruter is the owner of Capitol Grounds Cafe.