WINTERS, Calif. (KTXL) — A parking meter installed in downtown Winters as an April Fool’s Day prank struck a chord with locals who live there.
“It is a legitimate parking meter. That dime got us 25 minutes,” John Donlevy said.
Donlevy is the City Manager in Winters, a town with a population close to 7,000 and just over 300 downtown parking spaces.
He says parking has become a problem recently as new businesses have opened up. The construction of a new boutique hotel and a PG&E training facility are also looming.
“There are some people that are very anxious about parking and, at City Hall, it’s been a hot topic, no doubt,” Donlevy said.
“It’s crowded because of the Buckhorn and Putah Creek Cafe. It’s kind of the place to come now,” Gale Maroney said.
“When I first got here there was no stoplight in town. Now, there’s two of them,” Harley Schwartz said.
Overnight into Wednesday, an anonymous trickster mounted the still operable parking meter on top an existing metal pole in front of the Ace Hardware on Main Street.
Store Manager Gino told FOX40 the prank was as much an April Fool’s joke as it was a jab at him personally. He claimed to have complained about the cramped parking situation downtown on multiple occasions.
“I don’t think we need meters, we need a parking lot. A free parking lot,” Gino said.
Neighbors agreed that even if the meter were real, people in Winters would opt out of paying for parking.
“I probably would find another place to park around the corner because that would irritate me,” Maroney said.
“There’s no big sign saying I have to,” Schwartz said.
The city has no immediate plans to take the meter down. They are also not looking for the culprit.
“In a small town you learn to have a sense of humor about everything. If we leave it out here for a week or so it will be the buzz of the town,” Donlevy said.