Photo of cars parked on Broad Street in downtown Augusta
Augusta, GA -
Those pulling in to park on Broad Street don't face parking meters now and say they wouldn't like to in the future.
“It's hard to have quarters on you to park. I wouldn't care for it, I don't think,” said Sandra Wilson, a frequent downtown Augusta visitor.
But, to Mayor Deke Copenhaver, parking meters downtown would be one way to care for the city's budget troubles as well as manage the cars in the area.
“Obviously, we've got a deficit. We can look at what other cities are doing. That's when I mentioned parking meters, that's a revenue source that other cities have employed that we haven't, not to this point,” said Mayor Copenhaver.
Making drivers pay to park could be a source of new money for the city, but there would also be new expenses. So,is the Mayor using the budget as an excuse to propose meters?
Downtown business owner Ooollee Bricker doesn't care. “I think they are two different things. If one could help the other, if it could alleviate two problems, maybe that's not such a bad idea,” said Bricker.“Parking is a problem downtown?” wee asked. "Parking is a problem. Come down here at five o'clock and try to get a parking place,” said Bricker.
Commissioner Bill Fennoy represents downtown and he's not pushing for meters, but says he'll listen to what the merchants want. "If the merchants feel like downtown meters will be beneficial, I will support it. If they feel parking meters will hurt their business, I will not support it,” said Fennoy.
How about those who park downtown, do they think meters would bring in more people by making more spaces available?
“I don't think more people would come,” said Wilson. "It would hurt business?” we asked. “I think so, I think it would hinder it, absolutely,” said Wilson.
Last August, the city's Parking Committee led by Deputy City Administrator Bill Shanahanwas prepared to recommend installingmeters to Commissioners, but the idea died afterShanahan left for a new job. But, meters are about to bloom again. Downtown Development Authority director Margaret Woodard says a proposal should be in front of Commissioners before summer.