POSTED: Tuesday, January 7, 2014 - 7:38pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, January 8, 2014 - 9:11am
BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS (KVEO NEWSCENTER 23) — After a city commission meeting last month, Brownsville officials announced that downtown parking meters will increase from 25 cents per hour to 75 cents per hour.
"If parking is too cheap then, uh, people will take advantage of that, so they'll basically just feed the meter all day so that spot in the downtown area never turns around," said Brownsville city planning manager Ramiro Gonzalez.
City officials believe upping the price will encourage better parking management and turnover rates, which is expected to lead to more retail activity.
But a price increase three times higher than the original leaves many residents wondering what the extra money will be used for.
"The new revenue that will be made off of this change will be solely dedicated for downtown efforts," said Gonzalez. "So that means that downtown will finally have a steady source of let's say revenue in order to do different revitalization projects."
But despite city officials saying that the meter increase will ultimately benefit Brownsville, some downtown store owners believe that it will take away from their business.
"Business is bad already, like it's gone down in the past five years and so for them to jack up the pricing on the parking it's not even a slight increase," said a downtown Brownsville business owner, who requested that he stay anonymous. "It's like they're tripling it. 75 cents is just ridiculous. I think it'll just deter people even more from coming to downtown Brownsville."
But despite the worries of business owners downtown, Gonzalez says statistics show that there is nothing to worry about:
"Though some people have a misunderstanding that people will be discouraged by a higher parking rate...it just doesn't, it just doesn't. That's what the research shows."
The city expects to enforce the meter increase tonight.
Reporting in Brownsville, Marty Watson, KVEO News Center 23.