Up & Coming Weekly

May 14, 2019

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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4 UCW MAY 15-21, 2019 WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM STAFF PUBLISHER Bill Bowman Bill@upandcomingweekly.com ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER/ EDITOR Stephanie Crider editor@upandcomingweekly.com OPERATIONS DIRECTOR Paulette Naylor accounting@upandcomingweekly. com ASSISTANT EDITOR Leslie Pyo leslie@upandcomingweekly.com SENIOR SPORTS EDITOR Earl Vaughan Jr. EarlUCWSports@gmail.com REPORTER Jeff Thompson news@upandcomingweekly.com GRAPHIC DESIGNER Elizabeth Long art@upandcomingweekly.com SALES AND MARKETING DIRECTOR Kimberly Herndon kim@upandcomingweekly.com MARKETING ASSOCIATE Linda McAlister Brown linda@upandcomingweekly.com DISTRIBUTION MANAGER/ SALES ADMINISTRATOR Laurel Handforth laurel@upandcomingweekly.com CONTRIBUTING WRITERS D.G. Martin, Pitt Dickey, Margaret Dickson, Karl Merritt, John Hood, Jim Jones, Shanessa Fenner, Prudence Mainor ––––––––––– Up & Coming Weekly www.upandcomingweekly.com 208 Rowan St. P.O. Box 53461 Fayetteville, NC 28305 PHONE: 910-484-6200 FAX: 910-484-9218 Up & Coming Weekly is a "Quality of Life" publication with local features, news and information on what's happening in and around the Fayetteville/Cumberland County community. Up & Coming Weekly is published weekly on Wednesdays. Up & Coming Weekly welcomes manuscripts, photographs and artwork for publication consideration, but assumes no responsibility for them. We cannot accept responsibility for the return of unsolicited manuscripts or material. Opinions expressed by contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of the pub- lisher. The publisher reserves the right to edit or reject copy submitted for publication. Up & Coming Weekly is free of charge and distributed at indoor and outdoor locations throughout Fayetteville, Fort Bragg, Pope Air Force Base, Hope Mills and Spring Lake. Readers are limited to one copy per person. © 2019 by F&B Publications, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction or use of editorial or advertisements without permission is strictly prohibited. Cover photos credit: Taryn Renz Various ads with art graphics designed with elements from: vecteezy.com and freepik.com. New downtown parking fees lack thoughtful planning by DR. HANK PARFITT PUBLISHER'S PEN is week our publisher, Bill Bowman, yields his space to Dr. Hank Parfitt to ad- dress the city's new $10 parking fees that affect downtown during home baseball games at Segra Stadium. As a downtown resident, property owner, business owner and longtime activist for downtown revitalization, I am excited about the new baseball team and stadium and the Prince Charles develop- ment. I applaud our city council for having the vision and for working determinedly with each other to support these projects. I have enjoyed watching the Woodpeckers. It is a good brand of baseball, and it is a delight to see young families having a fun night at the ballpark. However, the new parking fees are driv- ing away business. Most of us accept the fact that paid parking in some form will be a necessity downtown. A parking study conducted for the city by Walker Consul- tants in 2018 recognizes the complexity of the problem and suggests a comprehen- sive array of measures requiring money, time and coordination with downtown stakeholders. Unfortunately, the city jumped to a single solution and slapped a $10 fee on the city lots before the first pitch was thrown in Segra Stadium. Well, guess what? Baseball fans are not stupid, and they quickly figured out how to avoid the paid lots. Did anyone seriously think it would be otherwise? On a recent baseball night at game time, I drove around and did a car count. e fans had already taken every free parking space except for the county courthouse lot, which is not within reasonable walking distance of the stadium or most businesses. e majority of the paid lots were nearly empty. And baseball fans had it finely cal- culated as to which lots were worth paying for. All the parking in the huge Med Arts lot was $10, but the spaces on the Russell Street side farthest away from the stadium were empty, while the Hay Street side close to the stadium entrance was full. e downtown sidewalks, I might add, were basically deserted because our regu- lar customers stayed away. e $10 fee is clearly not working for businesses — nor is it working for the city. Empty paid lots don't make much money for city coffers, yet the city has to pay more to McLaurin Parking Company, which manages the paid city lots, for the added staff. And it isn't working for the Woodpeck- ers. e key to sustained attendance is for fans to see a bustling downtown when they come to a game and for every member of the family — not just the diehard baseball fans — to have a complete, enjoyable eve- ning that might include dinner and a little shopping as well as baseball. at was the whole idea of putting the stadium down- town in the first place. City staff doesn't seem to realize there is a problem. In Tuesday's Fayetteville Observer, city traffic engineer Lee Jernigan said there is plenty of free parking downtown. Of course there is — all taken by the baseball fans. e city manager's solution is to give employees a break and charge them only $5 to give them "some real options … in the interim until we can come back with a larger and more comprehensive parking management program late in 2019 or 2020." OK, but why didn't they just hold off on the $10 fee until they could "come back" with that plan? Staff is apparently tone-deaf to the conse- quences of the $10 fees, so I ask the elected representatives of our city to consider re- scinding them for a year. at way, all types of paid parking can be considered as part of an overall strategy that is implemented over the next year with thoughtfulness and de- liberation and input from all stakeholders. At the very least, open up all the underuti- lized paid lots now and set some aside for customers and some for employees. e city's new downtown parking fees are driving away business. HIGH 89 LOW 67 HIGH 89 LOW 67 HIGH 90 HIGH 91 HIGH 90 LOW 67 LOW 67 LOW 70 MAY 20 MAY 19 MAY 17 MAY 18 MAY 21 Mostly Sunny Mostly Cloudy Partly Cloudy Partly Cloudy Partly Cloudy Mostly Cloudy MAY 16 HIGH 84 LOW 62 DR. HANK PARFIT, Owner, City Center Gallery & Books. COM- MENTS? Editor@upandcomingweekly. com. 910-484-6200.

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