Fayetteville council makes decision on downtown parking

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Fayetteville downtown parking may no longer be free.

Free parking in downtown Fayetteville could one day be a thing of the past -- but not right now.

City Council members decided on Tuesday night not to start charging by the hour for what is now free parking downtown.

So for now, free parking will continue.

As might be expected, some were opposed to the proposal to charge to park.

The city is looking at ways to offset expenses for downtown parking. For the past seven years, several city lots around downtown have been paid parking.

But shoppers and merchants say doing away with all the free parking on Hay Street and on other downtown streets would be bad business.

"You come down here on Friday night, the last thing, you want to as a resident worry about is my car going to be towed, fined," said Fayetteville resident Anthony Johnson. "We already have enough of that."

Robert Lints, a downtown merchant, has a similar opinion.

"It's hard to get people to come down here," Lints said. "I often hear they can't get close to your businesses, so I am not a big fan of it."

City leaders also were thinking about doing away with free parking at the city's only downtown parking garage. The Downtown Merchants Association has asked council to delay a decision for more study.

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