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City Council considers changes to downtown paid parking during special events, ball games


Editor's note: This story has been corrected. A council request to look at proposed changes to downtown parking did not propose a rate change, only a time change.

The Fayetteville City Council during a Monday night work session decided by split vote to change its downtown paid parking from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. to 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. during special events and baseball games.

The vote followed a long discussion on revised weekly enforcement times and special event parking operations.

The vote was 6-4 with Mayor Mitch Colvin and council members Kathy Jensen, Antonio Jones, D.J. Haire, Chris Davis and Larry Wright voting in favor of the change. Council members Shakeyla Ingram, Johnny Dawkins, Yvonne Kinston and Courtney Banks-McLaughlin opposed the motion.

The final decision on implementing the plan will come during the council’s next regular monthly meeting on April 11.

City Manager Doug Hewett asked if that decision involved a city ordinance change or a change in what the city is now charging for parking. Staff is going to bring back the necessary amendments for council to adopt or ratify on April 11, he said. A vote is required to ratify that decision.

In other business, the council received recommendations from the American Rescue Plan Committee on the expenditure of $15 million – part of the initial half of the city’s overall $40.4 million in American Rescue Plan funding it will receive from the federal government.

The council accepted the three recommended areas of focus: business and economic vitality, housing and community livability, and infrastructure. The next action would be for staff to bring back each element for the council to adopt.

“From each one of the lines, we’ve got to come back with programs and policy where to put that in place,” Hewett said after the meeting.

Downtown parking

The request for consideration that originated from the council recommended  that the length of event parking be limited to one hour before baseball games and special events and end 30 minutes after the game.

The council discussed possible changes to the hourly rates but did not propose any changes.

“There is still free parking within the downtown,” Lee Jernigan, the city traffic engineer, told the council.

He said it would cost roughly $8,000 to change the current city signage on paid parking hours. That’s in excess of 200 signs.

Jensen said street parking needs to remain at $1 an hour.

The city has 390 parking spots along Hay Street and its adjacent city streets.

Ingram said she wanted the hours in downtown Fayetteville to be in alignment with peer cities around the state. She said Charlotte charges for paid parking from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“I’m not in favor of changing the times and amount,” Banks-McLaughlin said. “I think compared to other cities, we’re doing a good job.”

The committee representatives had concerns about revenue lost by reducing the hours of paid parking.

As for the recommendations from the American Rescue Plan Committee, $5 million has been reserved for each of the three areas identified for initial study.

“I think we’re looking at one of the most important aspects of the community with daycare,” Wright said.

Jensen said one of the main things the council had been looking at was giving assistance to daycares.

Wright said there is demand for affordable housing in Fayetteville.

Colvin said working with nonprofits was critical in this endeavor. He asked whether the city had looked into that. “We need to make sure nonprofits are in there,” Colvin said.

Michael Futch covers Fayetteville and education for CityView TODAY. He can be reached at mfutch@cityviewnc.com. Have a news tip? Email news@CityViewTODAY.com.

Fayetteville, City Council, downtown parking, American Rescue Plan funding