City approves test of downtown parking solution

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 26, 2000

In an effort to alleviate parking problems, Natchez officials will remove the two-hour time limit from 86 downtown parking spaces.

Police Chief Willie Huff said the plan — a two-month test — is designed to give downtown business owners and employees a place to park within a block to a block and a half from their businesses.

That way, he said, they don’t have to park directly in front of retail businesses, taking up spots for potential customers.

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&uot;We’ll evaluate this by whether there is a decrease in parking tickets and by a survey of the merchants,&uot; Huff said.

Spots affected include about 25 parking places on Franklin Street, 14 on South Wall Street, 21 on Commerce Street and 26 on Main Street.

The plan grew out of meetings about the parking problem with the Natchez Downtown Development Association. At a meeting two weeks ago, many downtown merchants said part of the problem is downtown employees who use prime spots all day, avoiding tickets by moving their cars.

Merchants said they are afraid they are losing business because potential customers don’t have places to park.

NDDA&160;Director Tammi Mullins said she hopes the plan can help alleviate the parking problem. &uot;I empathize with the business owners,&uot;&160;she said. &uot;I know they’re the ones who eat lunch downtown.&uot;

But Mullins said the plan allows employees and business owners to park all day within a block and a half of their businesses.

&uot;We need to work together to be good neighbors,&uot; she said.

City officials will continue to consider other ways to alleviate the parking problem, Huff said. &uot;We may come back later with some tiered parking fines,&uot; he said.