The Columbia City Council approved an acquisition to buy land from Broadway Lodging, LLC at Monday's meeting. The purchase, which will cost $1.25 million, will allow for a new parking garage to be built on Short Street.
Columbia recently opened a 10-story parking garage on Fifth and Walnut Streets.
Mayor Bob McDavid said in previous council meetings that to help pay for the new Short Street garage, downtown parking meter rates should be increased.
The city will look into raising downtown parking meter rates. Currently, Columbia's meter rates range from 30 to 50 cents. For example, if the rate was increased to 50 cents per hour for all parking meters, estimated revenue would increase $278,145.
Tony St. Romaine, assistant city manager, said parking meter rates in Columbia are relatively low to other comparable college towns. At a council work session, St. Romaine said average parking meter rates in other Big 12 cities on average were higher than 75 cents.
Extending meter hours until 9 p.m. has also been discussed. An extension is projected to increase revenue by $120,000.
One drawback to the plan is the potential to drive business out of downtown Columbia. If you want to eat at a restaurant or shop downtown, will the increased meter rates or extended meter hours encourage you to eat or dine somewhere that offers free parking?
Will you still park downtown if parking meter rates increase?