MOUNT VERNON — An expected discussion with some local businesses about parking policies at lots owned by the Mount Vernon Parking Co. failed to develop Tuesday when the people who said they would attend, did not.
Questions had arisen about parking lot by-laws and towing procedures. Questions also concerned use of rental lots outside of business hours and vehicles parking in handicapped lots outside of business hours.
The parking company maintains four lots downtown, including the “Eagles” lot that runs along South Mulberry Street, between Vine and Gambier streets; a public/rental lot at Honeybuckets, on the northwest corner of Vine and Mulberry streets; a public lot at South Main Street and West Ohio Avenue and a rental lot on South Gay Street across from the Mount Vernon News.
The parking company board instructed its lot attendant to continue to issue warning tickets when necessary, and to have cars towed when appropriate.
Public lots allow for customer parking up to three hours. A warning will be issued after three hours in any public lot. After the third warning, the vehicle will be towed on every violation of the three-hour rule.
Downtown Manager and member of the parking company board Lynne Ricard told the News the parking attendent was seeing an abuse of free parking by merchants and their employees.
Ricard also explained the large lot on South Mulberry Street received federal funding several years ago. As part of that agreement, the parking company is required to keep the lot open for free “customer” parking. Rental spaces and merchant parking cannot be permitted in order to meet the demands of the grant.
“We noticed it was getting harder and harder to find parking space at certain times,” Ricard said. “With the increase in students and better weather, we need to make sure we have parking for our customers.”