Free no more: Oregon District parking lot to charge customers

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Free no more: Oregon District parking lot to charge customers

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An Oregon District parking lot will begin charging customers for parking for certain times of the day. STAFF/CORNELIUS FROLIK

A free parking lot in the Oregon Historic District is converting to a pay system from late afternoon to the early morning hours to pay for security, aesthetic improvements and increased maintenance.

The Oregon community lot, located at the southwest end of the business district on East Fifth Street, will start charging car owners $3 to park from between 4 p.m. to 4 a.m. seven days a week.

The lot’s 140 public spaces will remain free up until 4 p.m., but after that, people will have to use a pay station or a mobile app to avoid getting a ticket or possibly towed.

Drinking and misbehavior in the parking lot has led to trash, broken bottles, broken glass and other issues that hopefully will be eliminated with the addition of a parking authority and attendant, said Steve Budd, senior adviser of CityWide, which is part owner of the lot.

“And we haven’t done a refresh of the landscape in eight years,” he said.

The switch from free to fee parking follows in the footsteps of the lot behind Ned Peppers and the one next to the Environmental Protection Agency, which late last year implemented metered systems.

Starting Monday, the Oregon District community lot will begin charging car owners after 4 p.m.

Four pay machines will be installed at the property, which is located by Omega Music, Oregon Express, Thai 9 and Jay’s Seafood. The lot was rebuilt in 2008 and has been free to visitors since that time.

The parking fees will help pay for additional lighting, landscaping upgrades and for the services of a professional parking authority to monitor and enforce the new regulations, Budd said.

Visitors will enter their license plate numbers into an electronic station and pay with cash or credit cards.

They also will have the option to pay using their mobile devices by downloading and using the Passport Parking App (PPPRK.COM).

CityWide owns about 60 percent of the 140-space parking lot. About 30 percent is owned by Jay’s Seafood and about 10 percent belongs to Gottschlich & Portune, LLP.

However, Omega Music owns 26 spaces that it does not plan to charge its customers to use.

The community lot was upgraded significantly in 2008 to offer free parking and more spaces to help the Oregon District become even more of an arts and entertainment destination.

The city of Dayton supported the lot enhancements using money from its development fund, including a $850,000 grant to CityWide.

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