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Bigger issue: Not enough parking

Several days ago, some Concord High School students parked in the vacant Cumberland Farms lot across the street. After a couple hours of being parked in this “No Parking” zone, cars were towed, and students’ families had to pay nearly $200 each to the towing company. This event sparked outrage, causing the company to reimburse the families and give them a bonus $100 gift card. While the families say that the reimbursement was well deserved, others in Concord say otherwise.

What do I think? Who cares.

Honestly, if you weren’t directly involved, why do you care whether families got money back? Some are arguing that students have learned that if they whine loudly enough, they will get what they want. If the students weren’t aware that it was not okay to park there, however, why shouldn’t they whine?

I personally would not have parked there, knowing better than to park in an abandoned gas station, but when students say that they should not have been towed because they were unaware that it was wrong, they do have a point.

Cumberland Farms states that it repeatedly warned school personnel not to let students park in the company’s vacant lot, but CHS staff say that’s not true. Students never received any memo or announcement; there was no meeting. Had the students been aware of the potential trouble involved, they would not have parked where they parked. No one wants to be towed, and no one wants to pay a towing company $200.

Executives reimbursed families and gave them gift cards because they knew they had messed up and had not properly informed anybody that parking in the vacant lot was off-limits. There were no clear signs.

The whole thing was a big misunderstanding.

The truth is, parking is difficult to find near school. About 400 seniors compete annually for 75 spots in the one senior lot. Street parking is limited to two hours close to the school, forcing students to park on faraway streets, or at Memorial Field, which is a brutal walk in the wintertime.

Of course students are going to take every advantage to find a nearby parking spot where a car can be left all day.

The students and families deserved reimbursement. Now Cumberland Farms can put up better signs and properly inform the public that nobody should park in its empty lot. The community can move on and hopefully there will be no more heat over such a small incident.



Concord students react to parking flap

Thursday, December 19, 2013

When Cumberland Farms had students’ cars towed away from the shuttered convenience store across the street from Concord High School, it caused a kerfuffle. Such a kerfuffle, in fact, that the company eventually decided to pay the towing fees and give each aggrieved family a $100 gift certificate. We asked six Concord High students what they thought about it. You’ll …

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