Fort Smith Continues Meeting To Increase Downtown Parking Fees

FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- The city of Fort Smith passes an ordinance that will double the cost of parking at some meters on Garrison Avenue downtown.

The cost to park at the meters has been the same since 1985. The city has been looking at raising the cost of parking for several months now. City leaders said maintaining the meters is causing a loss of revenue.

Another issue is making sure the traffic turns over in those parking spaces in order to get new customers in and visitors downtown.

The board of directors said it now plans to make parking even easier for drivers by doing away with change and implementing a pay system on your phone.

"This will also come with the replacement of the meters to make them smart phone capable to where you would not have to be looking for quarters," Mike Lorenz, city director said. "That's an issue with it now is nobody carries change anymore ...you're having to try to find quarters to go up and pay the meter. This will eliminate that with the replacement of the meters and it brings us in line with every other larger city around here."

The ordinance did not receive a mandatory five vote majority, so it will have to be read two more times before the changes go into effect.

After the two readings, you can expect the news prices to be in place in the coming months.

The city estimates $50,000-$70,000 per year in revenue with the new parking fees. That money will go into a parking fund for upgrades, maintenance on the meters and necessary upkeep to the parking deck downtown.