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The record-low levels of Folsom Lake are bringing tourists to the area in droves, but instead of spending dollars, some local businesses say they’ve only been a nuisance.
“It’s wild,” said owner of the Green Valley Center Amy Anders. “There’s a steady stream of people every weekend, I’d even say even an international crowd, to see the lake’s ruins. The free parking fills up all the way up Sophia Parkway so people are parking at the GVC parking lot. They’re going on these two, three, four-hour excursions and it’s consuming all the parking we have here for our patrons.”
Anders played parking attendant for two weekends in a row and politely asked visitors not to leave their vehicles if they weren’t customers of the GVC. “There are two groups of people,” she said. “Those that say, ‘We didn’t think about that; we completely understand.’ The others are militant and feel they have the right to do whatever they want, whenever they want.”
How can she spot the tourists? “If groups show up and are wearing hiking attire and they have a dog, we know they aren’t going to Barber Jon’s or getting their nails done,” she joked.
This week GVC tenants chipped in to hire a parking attendant on weekends. “If we offered free parking to everyone, the businesses here wouldn’t be able to survive so we’ve had to put out some enforcement,” said Anders. “I get regular calls from the nail salon, dog groomer and Barber Jon that their customers can’t find parking. Those businesses see the most impact because they work on a reservation system.”
Anders said they may have to resort to towing, explaining, “There’s a high probability this will continue until a) the novelty wears off or b) we get some water back in the lake.”
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