The City of Greenville Special Event Liaison, Corey Barrett shared proposed parking changes which would affect members of the community who work and live in the Uptown District during a Tuesday night meeting.
Barrett gave a presentation on the new parking proposal on Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. in Sheppard Memorial Library. An additional Public Information Session on the topic of parking will be held today at 2:30 at Sheppard Memorial Library. After two public information sessions, the proposed parking changes will be brought before Greenville City Council.
The proposed $15 fine would not completely pay for overtime for Greenville Police Department officers, but it would help with projects such as resurfacing, restriping roads and other city services taxpayers pay for, according to Barrett.
“We have got to start moving forward. Like I said before, there’s no such thing as free. Someone’s got to pay for these services,” Barrett said.
Proposed changes were to increase the parking fine from five dollars to $20 and the first citation would be a warning, Barrett said. Rideshare zones would be created throughout the city for companies such as Uber, Lyft and ECU shuttle vans.
It was proposed for a gate system to be added to the parking deck for automated payment system and the Passport App implemented so citizens could pay for parking from their phone, according to Barrett.
In the Uptown District, on-street parking would be $1.75 after the first hour and one dollar per hour off-street, Barrett said. Parking after 10 p.m. would be $15 in order to pay private security and parking enforcement overtime, according to Barrett.
Another proposed change would be terminating the e-tag parking permits, which allows on-street parking for downtown, residential use and employees but does not promote turnover and allows people to park their car in one spot all day. An employee parking program would be created for Uptown employees, according to Barrett.
One proposed change was for the first hour to be free to park and every hour after would be paid, according to Barrett. The parking garage downtown would continue to be paid parking.
Barrett said, depending on the event downtown, there could be 10 or 20 officers downtown working overtime depending on the type of event. He said officers have to be assigned to any event where alcohol is being served such as Freeboot Friday and other special events.
Parking officers are patrolling downtown in the evenings and night hours, Barrett said. There could potentially be additional parking officers hired, he said.
Local business owners expressed their concerns about the impacts the proposed changes would have on business downtown during the meeting. Multiple business owners said that September was too early to vote on these proposed parking changes.
Allison Thomas, representing The Martinsborough, said the establishment hosts events which bring in 200-300 people at a time.
“In Greenville, I just want us to be real careful in mindful and find that happy medium because I can tell you, I will lose a ton of customers if they learn they have to make arrangements for their guests to pay to park after 10 o’clock, $15. I can promise you that,” Thomas said.
Uptown Greenville Chairman of the Board Michael Glenn said the discussion was about “a lot of ideas” and not a single subject. He said the meeting was working towards a realistic employee parking solution. Employees are the first and last people at establishments and if they are not able to park downtown, the patron aspect is “secondary,” Glenn said.
Glenn said in any city there is paid parking, but there can be a solution to turnover parking which won’t discourage people from coming to the district.
“You know, we want to bring all of these stakeholders together and business owners together and make sure we’re apart of this as a working group and not just reacting to it,” Glenn said.