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Parking rate talks continue

City officials have doubled down on recommendations to adjust parking fees throughout the City of Warren.

The issue was first before Warren City Council during a budget session a couple weeks ago and was back before council during a special meeting this week.

The current rate structure is $.50 per hour on the street and $1 per hour in the Midtown Lot.

City Manager Nancy Freenock told council on Monday that the “rate in the Midtown Lot and on the street (should) be on par.”

She then recommended $1 per hour in the lot and the street, which represents a $.50 per hour increase for on street parking.

“I think it’s backward,” Deppen said at the previous budget session. “Premium spaces are spaces that are on the street” and should subsequently cost more than the spots in the lot.

He recommending lowering the Midtown Lot fee to $.75 per hour while raising the cost of the meters on the street to $1 per hour.

“I’m looking down the road. (We are) going to have to do something for that garage and we are going to have to find a funding source for it somewhere,” Deppen said.

Freenock also recommended changes to permit parking and fees in the parking garage that Deppen outlined at the prior meeting.

He noted that parking permit fees in the garage are $25 a month for residents and $30 for non-residents. However, he noted that parking in any other permit space – the armory lot or the eight spots on the 400 block of Pennsylvania Ave. W. – the rate is $30 for a resident and $35 for a non-resident.

“I’m not sure why there’s a difference in the rate structure,” he said. “I would think (people) should not pay more to park on the street.”

He then recommended raising the rates in the parking garage $5 to come into line with the on-street permit spaces.

Deppen noted seven of eight spaces in the 400 block are currently filled.

“Obviously, people are willing to pay that premium,” Fraser said.

Deppen noted that would increase the cost of parking in the garage from $1.25 to $1.50 per day for a resident and $1.50 to $1.75 for a non-resident.

Regarding the on-street permit parking, Deppen outlined how that program could be expanded.

“We have a couple of high-density parking areas,” he said, where that expansion could take place – Crescent Park between Onondaga and Main as well as Fourth Ave. between Hickory St. and Market St.

He said 50 spaces could be created on Crescent Park and 58 on Hickory St. with the only cost associated with the change being signage.

“The whole idea of this is to make the parking fund sustainable,” Freenock said, so city taxpayers don’t subsidize the program.

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