Downtown Augusta paid parking could be a reality after Tuesday commission vote

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Monday, Sept. 9, 2019
News 12 at 6 O’Clock/NBC at 7

You could be paying for parking in downtown Augusta soon if Augusta-Richmond County Commission decides on a company. (Source: WRDW)

AUGUSTA, GA (WRDW/WAGT) -- We could know Tuesday if paid parking will become a reality in downtown Augusta.

City commissioners are expected to decide which parking company will manage the project after considerable back and forth and pushed back start dates.

Commissioners will vote whether to proceed with SP Plus Municipal Services to determine dates, times, costs, and a timeline for implementation.

Jonathan Morton Ayres works downtown at Mellow Mushroom. He says he's not looking forward to paying for parking.

"I'm down here every day, and that'll add up,” Ayres said.

He comes to work to make money. But once they add the parking meters, he'll be paying to go to work.

“It’s just a cycle,” Ayres said. “I don’t like it one bit. If I’ve got to pay like $8 a day just to go to work; no, that’s not good.”

Other downtown workers agree.

"If I'm having to shell out $10 to just be working, sometimes you only make $20 in a shift and you could be here for 4 hours, and that's kind of half of what you're making, and that's not really fair to us,” Sarah Beth Hodges said.

The big question, of course, is how much a spot will cost.

“The cheaper, the better,” Patrick Konesky said.

The city is planning to charge between $1.00 and $1.25 per hour.

Restaurant and business owners are thinking of ways to help their employees by paying the bill.

The manager at mellow mushroom says they're thinking of dedicating a gravel parking lot behind their building just for employees or giving them an allowance for parking.

“If they allotted us an amount for parking -- that would be great, or maybe business owners in the city council can work something out with employee passes at least at a discounted rate,” Ayres said.

The city has thrown around having paid parking from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday with Sundays and holidays free.

But at this point, the parking task force says anything is an option.

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