Fair traffic makes parking more difficult

Published: Aug. 1, 2019 at 9:51 PM CDT
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With thousands attending the Wisconsin Valley Fair this week, finding a spot to park can be a difficult task. While some choose to pay for a spot, others tempt fate, sometimes parking illegally. That's where Jim Hellrood comes in.

Hellrood works with the Wausau Police Department as a parking enforcement specialist. During fair week, he's working special hours to make sure people are parking legally along the city's streets.

"We were asked to be here by residents around the fairgrounds," said Hellrood. "They've had a lot of issues with trying to get in and out of their driveways."

He says the biggest infractions that he will come across are people parking too close to driveways and intersections.

"What we're trying to do is keep people 4 feet away from a driveway, and 15 feet away from a crosswalk," added Hellrood. "I understand that people are trying to have fun, see the show and ride the rides, but ultimately, the rules still apply during fair week."

The average parking ticket in Wausau ranges from 5 to 20 dollars, but Hellrood says that he's had some people throw a million-dollar fit.

"I've been yelled at, screamed at, flipped off at least 6 or 8 times a day," Hellrood recalled. "I've been tried to be backed over, had a lady slap me."

Hellrood said that contrary to popular belief, the city isn't enforcing the laws for the money.

"Our city is not doing this for the revenue enhancement," Hellrood added. "We're trying to keep people safe."

One person who is taking advantage of the demand for parking is 11-year-old Gunther Nowak. Using property owned by his father, Gunther came up with the idea to charge people to park, and the proceeds will be going towards a worthy cause.

"We're donating it to charity, but we don't know what one yet," said Nowak.

With the help of his father and some friends, Gunther says he plans to be out collecting money each day.

"We just like helping people, and it's fun."