The city has established a plan to address downtown parking issues

Arkansas News

EL DORADO, Ark. (03/05/20) — The problem concerning downtown parking has been an ongoing issue for years but the city now has a plan they hope will address the many concerns.

“One of the things we’ve done is made two parking lots available downtown,” Mayor Veronica Smith-Creer said.

One of those lots is near The Griffin Restaurant. The lot includes over 30 spaces. Many thought the lot near the restaurant was private parking but it’s actually owned by the city.

The second lot is across the street from El Dorado School District’s main office. The parking there used to be paid parking but it’s now free and open to the public as well. That lot has approximately 75 spaces.

Mayor Veronica Smith-Creer wants downtown employees specifically to utilize those spaces to free up as much space for customers.

Employees have expressed that they haven’t had anywhere to park, now that two lots are dedicated to them, she hopes they use it.

“We want people to shop downtown,” she said. “If they can be there for three hours and eat and shop and do all of that we want them to be able to utilize that time but we don’t want to make sure they have a place to park.”

Some believe employees are using the spaces that are designated for downtown visitors because it’s closer to their job. The commute from both parking lots to the Union County Courthouse area is about a five minute walk.

“We love downtown. It’s amazing and what we want to do is make sure we’re utilizing all of our parking downtown so that our business owners our employees and our customers can be satisfied in having an area to park.”

Mayor Smith-Creer said she’s willing to provide transportation for those that need it.

“If you know you have 5-10 maybe 15 employees that would need transportation if you would let us know that ahead of time so we can get a schedule going and it wouldn’t be a day to day thing,” Mayor Smith-Creer said.

If an employee or business would like to utilize transportation service offered by the city you can call the mayor’s office.

Community task force meet to discuss downtown parking issues

EL DORADO, Ark. (09/20/19) — A small group of leaders met today to discuss the parking issues downtown.

The city hired a parking attendant but fired her in January. They were many complaints about her, not just as a parking attendant but around City Hall.

Since then, residents say parking has worsened and there hasn’t been a solution to the matter.

Mayor Veronica Smith-Creer met with a concerned citizen, the police chief, city code inspector and others to brainstorm options that would work.

“We talked about parking meters. We talked about a mobile pay app,” Mayor Veronica Smith-Creer said. “We talked about civilian ticket warden.”

They also discussed the possibility of a parking garage. Many residents say that would be the best option with all of the activities that happen downtown.

“I think it’s more of the employees don’t have anywhere to park,” Linda Washington said. “So, they take up other spaces like the courthouse and in front of restaurants.”

Mayor Smith-Creer isn’t opposed to a parking garage but she says that’s not feasible right now.

“Maybe in the future that might be a solution but I don’t think we’re quite ready for it yet and the cost that it would be incur,” she said.

She would like to come to a solution soon but she knows it’s not going to be an easy fix.

“There are so many components to the situation. It’s not just customers. It’s not just employees,” she said. “We have to look at people coming from all over. It’s not just an El Dorado situation.”

One thing they are working on is bringing in more people to the discussion. She wants to add downtown business owners, employees and even churches to help come up with the best solution.

They will also have to survey downtown parking lots to see how they can be better utilized for customers and employees.

The next meeting is yet to be determined.

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