Changes to downtown Wausau parking take effect Friday

New parking signs in downtown Wausau on October 24, 2019. (WSAW-TV_
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) -- Starting Nov. 1, 2019 anyone can park in downtown Wausau for free for the first two hours-- after that you will have to pay to stay in the city's lots and parking ramps. Street parking will remain free.

The city removed meters in public lots and replaced them with a pay station.

"They can go to the pay station, register their license plate and then they will receive two hours of free parking. It will ask how many hours, and if they say more than two hours it will accept coin, credit card or cash," explained Maryanne Groat, finance director for the city of Wausau during an interview with NewsChannel 7 on Oct. 25.

People can download the Passport app and pay from there. You will also get reminders about when your parking is up and you can extend your stay right from the app.

All the information will be used in a state-of-art parking enforcement vehicle. "As it's driving down the street or comes into a lot or ramp it is reading those plates and then for that location it is comparing that parking habit to the rules of that area," said Groat.

The vehicle will also be able to look out for wanted vehicle plates like those in Amber Alerts.

No re-parking will be allowed downtown. Vehicles moving from spot to spot has become a problem in recent years. The new rule will not allow the same vehicle to park on the same block after their two free hours is up until the next day.

Each vehicle will get one free violation a year to encourage more people to visit downtown Wausau.