Drivers faced with a parking ticket in Cottage Grove have a second payment option this holiday season.

The Cottage Grove Police Department is partnering with the Cottage Grove Food Pantry in accepting nonperishable donations in lieu of cash payments.

“They’re looking for five unexpired, nonperishable food items to be donated for the $25 parking ticket,” Trustee Jon Russell said at the Monday, Dec. 2, village board meeting. “So, if they bring in one nonperishable item, it would be dropped by $5.”

The food pantry donations are in lieu of payments of parking violation fines up to $25. This does not include fines for violating handicap parking rules or fire lane rules. Any fine amount greater than $25 must be paid in cash.

The program is already underway and will run through Jan. 31, 2020.

“When we hand out parking tickets during this time, we will put a little flier in there so people know they have that option,” Police Chief Dan Layber said.

All donations will be accepted at the Cottage Grove Police Department, 210 Progress Drive. Those without parking tickets can also donate items at the police department, whose officers will deliver the goods to the food pantry.

Donations will be accepted during regular business hours Monday through Friday.

The idea came from a similar effort by a police department in Ohio, Layber said.

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