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City votes to delay event day pricing for downtown parking garage

Two weeks after voting on special event day pricing for the new parking garage, Oxford’s Board of Aldermen voted to push back implementation of the policy.

The pricing, which was approved for Ole Miss home football game days during the board’s Sept. 17 meeting, was scheduled to begin this Saturday. Mayor Robyn Tannehill proposed to waive the event day pricing until next fall during the Board’s meeting on Tuesday.

“We want people to come and take advantage of the garage and figure out their new parking habits and patterns, and we want to make that easy,” Tannehill said. “I think everyone wanted to get policies in place that address those things. When you look at our revenue model, it doesn’t fund, completely, the garage. So, we were working on alternate methods to do that.”

On days deemed special events by the City, such as Ole Miss home football games, all four levels of the parking garage would be subject to the event day pricing. Now, with the Board delaying that until 2020, the garage will follow the new parking ordinance, with the second through fourth levels free to park and the first floor using the new monthly parking permits or metered parking.

The parking permits, which began going on sale on Sept. 30, and the amended downtown parking ordinance, takes effect on Oct. 7. That leaves the entire parking garage free to motorists for Saturday’s game against Vanderbilt.

“I thought about it over the past two weeks and looking at the amount of traffic we’ve had, looking at the businesses and how everyone’s kind of anxious about change,” Tannehill said. “I don’t think it’s really registered yet that we’re going to more than 450 free spots, which is about 90 more than we’ve had while the garage was under construction. So, people just need to experience it to lose that apprehension that they have.”

The next weekend that might be considered as a special event by the City is the Double Decker Arts Festival next April. Tannehill said they will wait until that weekend gets closer to determine what to do in regards to pricing for the garage.