Fewer people are spending time downtown these days. We all want to go back to our concerts, bars, restaurants, and in some cases offices, and the organization overseeing downtown parking operations wants to see us back, too.

The Cedar Rapids Gazette reports that Park Cedar Rapids is one of the latest organizations to be hit by the 1-2 punch of 2020's pandemic and derecho effects, having to make the tough decision to lay off over 30 employees.

Park Cedar Rapids manages many of the downtown parking structures in Cedar Rapids and they have cut their workforce from 47 people in 2019 to 16 (14 full-time and 2 part-time) at this time.

After reporting about $3.62 million in revenue in the same period last year, Park Cedar Rapids reported a revenue stream of $2 million from January 1-October 31, 2020. That's almost a 50-percent decline in revenue.

On the occasion that there might be limited-attendance events, some of the laid-off staff could be temporarily reactivated, but until life is back to "normal", a permanent reactivation of positions will likely not be considered, according to a Park Cedar Rapids spokesperson. They do not consider a full rebound for their operations possible until 2022, after an approved vaccine allows for the lifting of restrictions for full-house events, dining, etc. in downtown.

Parking ramp usage downtown has fallen from 86 percent in October 2019 to just 31 percent this year. On the bright side, the downturn in parking usage is reportedly allowing for more ability for capital and infrastructure improvements, such as at the Five Seasons parking ramp, where the current regular occupancy rate is zero while repairs are done.

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