East Nashville Development Comes At A Cost

Posted at 9:41 PM, Aug 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-18 00:05:17-04

The price of Nashville's fame has pulled on the pocketbooks of some in East Nashville, by charging for parking in one of the few free parking lots in town.

Parking in the Five Points area is known to be scarce, especially when it comes to a free lot, but those days appear to gone.

"This was definitely a secret lot," East Nashville resident Meredith Hill said.

The lot just off South 11th street is surrounded by bars and restaurants. It is a poplar place for employees and customers to leave their cars.

It's just kind of easy to have a place to park to come meet friends that's all," said East Nashville resident Dave Johnson. "It's always been free."

Drivers said a short time ago the lot had potholes and the spots were not marked.

"It was rough," said Hill. "But it was free parking and you didn't have to park on the street and walk six blocks."

The Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency actually owns the lot.

East Nashville Councilman Brett Withers said the agency bought the lot and others in the five points areas to help with redevelopment two decades ago.

He said the agency looked at selling them during the winter but decided to keep it and maintain the lot. The potholes were filled and white lines put down, but it all came at a cost.

"As the councilman for the district we have so little parking as it is, I would much prefer they hang on to those lots and have them be a pay lot where the fee goes into maintaining those lots, Withers said. "I would much rather, the little parking we have  there remain, than have a three story building there."

Still, it's a cost that could keep some for spending an evening and their dollars in the Five Points area.

"We paid were going to get something to eat," Hill said. "It could be the last time I pay to park here."

A spokesperson for MDHA said due to increased maintenance costs it was no longer feasible to keep this lot free. She said the money collected will help pay for the recent improvement and continued maintenance