Downtown group parking solutions

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 12, 2000

Increasing fines for overtime parking and encouraging downtown business owners not to park in front of their businesses are just two options business owners suggested to curb a downtown parking problem.

Natchez Police Chief Willie Huff met with members of the Natchez Downtown Development Association Tuesday evening to discuss solutions to the parking problem.

Business owners agreed that one of the biggest problems is business owners and employees who park in front of their businesses — taking up spots for potential customers.

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The police department employs a parking monitor to check cars every two hours to make sure drivers aren’t parking overtime. Overtime parking tickets are now $3.

Jane Gardner, owner of the Healthy Planet, suggested the city increase the fines. Others at the meeting agreed.

&uot;At the park service the lowest fine we charge the public is $25,&uot; said Bill Justice of the National Park Service. &uot;If you’re creating a fine that’s going to have any effect, it’s going to have to be significant.&uot;

Huff suggested NDDA Director Tammi Mullins write a letter to the mayor and board of aldermen asking for the change.

Huff said he would support increasing the fines on an incremental basis — with the first offense at $5, for example, and subsequent offenses costing more.

In addition, Huff suggested Mullins give him a list of business owners who continually break the two-hour time limit and play &uot;musical cars&uot; by moving their cars to accomodate the limit. He said he would write a letter to those owners and employees asking them to obey the parking limits.

Business owners said their objective with solving the parking problem is to increase traffic and sales downtown.

&uot;Unless we all pull together it’s not going to work,&uot; Daniels Basketry owner Elaine Daniels said. &uot;We want locals to shop here. They just need to know they may have to park at St. Mary’s.&uot;