CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Businesses in Clarksville worry a plan to increase parking fees downtown could keep customers away from the area.
In July, the Parking Commission voted to set new parking rates for the 196 metered spaces downtown. For the past five years, the metered spaces allowed visitors to park for one hour free in attempt to bring more shoppers to downtown. But on October 1, it will no longer be free. Downtown visitors must pay $1 for the first hour of parking and $2 for every additional hour up to three hours.
"The thought that they would take it away shocked me and aggravated me," Jeff Robinson, owner of the Blackhorse Pub and Brewery, said. "We don't need to add another hurdle of the nuisance of the meters."
Robinson said he worries that increasing the fees will create more of a hassle for going downtown, and cause customers to avoid downtown.
"I don't know if it's going to drive people away, but it darn sure ain't going to bring them in," Robinson said. "It may cause them to think, 'I'm not going to fool with that, I'm going to go someplace that doesn't have the meters.'"
The city says issues with the meters and their sensors cause outages, and enforcement problems. But Robinson worries adding fees will cause more problems than solutions.
"They put the first-hour-free parking in about five years ago to solve a problem, which was lagging businesses and development and we're not done yet," he said.