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Flossmoor to Address Downtown Business Parking Conundrum

After years of citation frustration, Anne Aboushousha of "Sweet Annie's Bakery" formally requested the village offer parking passes to downtown business owners and their employees.

Flossmoor's village board will discuss options to amend their current parking policy to cater to downtown business owners and their employees. 

This comes in response to a formal request from Flossmoor resident Anne Aboushsousha during the Dec. 3 village board meeting. Aboushousha, more commonly known around town as "Sweet Annie," owns Sweet Annie's Bakey in downtown Flossmoor. She says her employees and she have struggled with Flossmoor's parking situaion—and received many expensive violations—since opening up shop four years ago.

"If you work an eight-hour shift, you have to find three different areas to park, which in a big hassle, especially for those of us who work twelve-hour days," Aboushousha said. "In some shops, where there is only one person working, they have to lock their shop door and rush to change spots in between customers."

Aboushousha says Flossmoor business owners and their employees deserve free parking passes and cited Homewood as an example of a village that offers such. The Flossmoor Public Library also offers parking passes to its employees, she says.

"It is the best way to say, 'thank you,' for having our businesses in downtown Flossmoor in these incredibly challenging times," Aboushousha said. "By accommodating us with this request, there will be better parking for our customers because, now, we park in spots closest to our shops so we can quickly move our cars. If we didn't need to worry about moving, we would park farther away."

While the village does offer downtown parking passes, Aboushousha says the $80 price tag is more than many small business employees can afford.

Currently, free spots are available for parking, but they are unreasonably far away, according to Aboushousha.

"Honestly we don't feel safe walking around far distances with deposits and cash register money, nor is it practical for police officers to escort us to and from our spots twice a day, which has been suggested to me in prior conversations with village officials," Aboushousha said.

The problem is not exclusive to Sweet Annie's, either, according to Aboushousha. A questionnaire circulated among downtown Flossmoor businesses generated similar concerns. The results, she says, support her frustration.

In at least one case, her plea was an eye-opener.

"I knew that there were some issues," said Trustee Diane Williams. "I had no idea the process that you have to go through over the course of a day in order to manage parking down there. I'd be interested in supporting whatever we can in terms of looking into alternatives (to fix the problem)."

Flossmoor Mayor Paul Braun said he's also been aware of issues and asked the board's guidance on how to proceed.

"I would like to see the Flossmoor Business Association to weigh in on this as well," Braun said.

Members of the board agreed that the issue needs to be addressed. Braun said the board will revisit this discussion to explore options, ideally within the first two meetings of the new year.

James Tiernan December 04, 2012 at 12:52 PM
Anne Aboushsousha's concerns are real and need to be addressed. The employee parking problem has gone on long enough.
Karen December 04, 2012 at 02:03 PM
You do not want to lose Sweet Annie!
Jon Azavedo December 04, 2012 at 03:42 PM
And when you resolve the parking issue, bring back the grocery store, pharmacy with soda fountain, Howards Barber Shop and his arch enemy, Gene and Als' Barber Shop, where all the kids could read Playboy and listen to Al talk about "chasing broads."
Joseph M. Spretnjak December 04, 2012 at 04:56 PM
Anne is right; it's only fair. jms
Back in Illinois December 04, 2012 at 10:25 PM
I had to pay for parking as part of all my previous jobs. Easy solution, charge all people working downtown to park (library, post office, village employees and all business owners) and bet the village will find a solution.
Genvieve LaChappele December 04, 2012 at 10:53 PM
Flossmoor could screw up a one car funeral.
Ralph C. Shepard December 04, 2012 at 11:12 PM
It's hard to believe that this issue exists in Flossmoor today. Local businesses should be supported by the village in as many ways as possible encouraging commerce, hence tax revenue for Flossmoor.
DJ Morgan December 05, 2012 at 01:38 PM
It would seem simple enough to me, that parking permits should be linked to the downtown business licenses.
C. Casson December 07, 2012 at 06:48 PM
I believe the village board must inform the taxed residents why they do not support local downtown businesses. We deserve to hear your reasoning. Additionally, the residents of Flossmoor do not faithfully support the businesses. Do not try the argument of price when you pay 3.50 and up for gas to drive to Orland Mall and beyond. All the shops have plenty of choices and they are locally owned.
Juvenal January 12, 2013 at 04:53 AM
Annie didn't give them much time, but they sure screwed the pooch on this one. I mean, it's not like there's a couple of empty acres anywhere near the downtown business district or anything.....

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