Downtown Fayetteville faces parking issue

February 4, 2008 7:51:05 PM PST
With business booming, downtown Fayetteville is quickly becoming the place to be. But there is one problem that could put the brakes on growth ?parking.

Free parking in downtown Fayetteville may soon become a thing of the past.

On Monday night, city leaders got a look at a proposal to change downtown parking to hourly rates and build two downtown parking decks. Leaders balked at the cost nearly $10 million.

"We need parking in downtown but that is an extremely large amount of money to be spending for parking in downtown," city councilmember, Charles Evans said.

For people who live, work and seek entertainment downtown say parking nightmares already haunt them.

"We went to the piano bar on Friday night and it just opened but it's already pretty popular and we had a hard time finding a spot," Fayetteville resident, Lauren Davis said.

Several new restaurants and Docks at the Capitol, a major new sports bar and entertainment complex, have recently opened ?putting a premium on parking spaces.

The city does have several small parking lots. The problem is, there is a time limit before being ticketed or towed.

Fayetteville Mayor Tony Chavonne says the city has a parking management plan.

"And that includes probably paying for parking throughout the city, having a deck that would be available for people for parking," Chavonne said. "So it's not, it's a multifaceted solution. It's not one piece. Decks are very expensive."

The city has two proposed sites for a parking deck. The most popular is at the intersection of Donaldson and Russell Streets.

"The parking is starting to get a little hectic. However I would hate to see a parking deck because I think it would take away from the uniqueness and quaint area of the downtown," Fayetteville resident, Summer Bethune said.

"When I go to New York or Virginia I pay to park downtown," Downtown business owner, Mae Freeman said. "So would it be worth giving up the free parking for the deck; to me, most certainly."

The mayor says the solution to downtown's parking problem is up and down, not sideways.

"That's not the way large urban center look I don't think that's the way Fayetteville can continue to look over time. We've got to be thinking more vertical and less horizontal." Chavonne said.


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