Dear Mayor Ball:
The purpose of this letter is to explain my disappointment and frustration over an incident that occurred on the evening of February 22, 2014. My son is a sophomore at Appalachian State University and we live in Augusta, Georgia. Our son loves App State and we have enjoyed becoming a part of the Boone community during our many visits there.
However, on February 22, my friend and I went to eat dinner at CoBo Sushi Restaurant on Howard Street around 8:00 p.m. My son was not with us, so we drove around looking for this restaurant and drove down Howard Street which is one way. After we found the restaurant on our right we saw that there was ample parking in a lot to the left. We pulled around and entered that lot an parked. I am attaching pictures of that parking lot and how it looks to a stranger at night.
At the end of our dinner, we went next door to Yosefa Tea House to sample their tea. When we came out, we talked to the parking lot to find that our car was missing. At that point, we didn’t know if the car was stolen or had been towed. We walked around in the dark and looked for readable signs and found a number to call. Sure enough, we had been towed for parking in that lot by Hennessey & Sons. I called my son to pick us up and take us to Hennessy’s garage on King Street. There we paid our towing bill and had a brief conversation with a rude attendant that seemed to be proud of all the towing he had done that night. While we were there, someone else from the same restaurant we had eaten at arrived to pick up their towed car. It became obvious that your towing company is preying on visitors.
We paid the bill and went back to our hotel with a sour taste in our mouth for Boone. Just thinking about that weekend and the many restaurants and businesses that we shopped in gave me the feeling that the town of Boone really doesn’t care about their visitors. The parking lot was mostly empty. It was at night time. There was no crowd fighting over parking spaces. We were trying to support the local businesses as we normally enjoy doing. However, because of obscure signage that is very hard to see or read at night, we feel unwelcome due to the unnecessary towing that takes place.
I don’t expect my money back. Actually, I don’t expect anything from anyone in Boone. Just know that I have researched this topic and found several articles in the Boone paper about this very issue. So, I know it’s not just me that feels this way. Instead of shopping at your local stores during the day, eating at your many restaurants and staying at your local hotels, we will be staying outside of Boone from here on out. We can still visit our son and enjoy staying and shopping in Blowing Rock and let our money go towards a community that appreciates visitors.
I am a public school system administrator, so I totally understand rules. However, I also know that common sense has to be used in their enforcement. By towing and charging $80 to unsuspecting visitors for parking in a dimly lit parking lot, you are hurting your own community more than you are hurting the visitors. If that parking lot is so sacred, put up a gate with an arm to limit access as you do on King Street. I just don’t understand the logic of such actions that I experienced and I wanted you to know of my disappointment in how you and your city treat visitors.
As the governmental leaders of Boone, you have the power to change how your town operates. I would encourage you to reconsider this issue before additional visitors get treated in a similar manner. I would suspect that for every person that takes the time to write you about this, there are many more who just accept this treatment without voicing their opinion. I hope you rethink your position on towing visitors (especially at night) from empty parking lots. Over time, this treatment will have an adverse effect on your town merchants.
Jeffrey L. Carney