LEXPARK Board approves plan to keep meters free on weekends and after 7 week nights

The LEXPARK Board this morning gave unanimous approval to a plan to return free parking at downtown meters on weekends and after 7 p.m. on weekdays. The changes will go into effect immediately.

Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton negotiated the plan with LEXPARK to assist downtown businesses. Several downtown restaurant owners had expressed concerns after LEXPARK recently increased parking rates and expanded enforcement hours.

The new plan received initial approval from the Urban County Council on Feb. 16. A final vote is set for March 9.

“Thank you to LEXPARK for working with us in support of our downtown businesses,” Gorton said. “We look forward to continuing our partnership with LEXPARK.”

Board Chair, James Frazier, chair of the LEXPARK Board, said, “LEXPARK, Mayor Gorton and her administration have always worked well together. We have never failed to communicate and our goals are aligned.”

Gary Means, Executive Director of LEXPARK, said the LEXPARK team will work quickly to change the stickers on meters and to reprogram them to reflect the new enforcement hours.

Under the change, beginning July 1, the city will increase the amount it pays to park 620 employee vehicles, including police cruisers, in downtown garages operated by LEXPARK. Under an agreement negotiated when the City gave the garages to LEXPARK in 2012, the City pays 50% of market rate for employee parking. Under the new plan, the city will pay the government rate, an increase of about $200,000 a year. LEXPARK needed additional revenue to make safety improvements.

LEXPARK, or the Lexington & Fayette County Parking Authority, provides, maintains and operates public meters and parking garages, including the Helix Garage on Main Street, the Courthouse Garage on Barr St., the Victorian Square Garage on Short St., and the Transit Center on Vine Street.

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