Parking meters could make a return to downtown Conway

Soon you might have to cough up some change if you want to park in downtown Conway.
Published: Mar. 14, 2023 at 6:49 AM EDT
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CONWAY, S.C. (WMBF) - Soon you might have to cough up some change if you want to park in downtown Conway.

Right now, you can park downtown for free for up to two hours, but the city council is considering bringing back parking meters.

City spokesperson, June Wood, said they’ve received complaints over the years from some residents and businesses that there needs to be more parking downtown.

She also said future developments coming to the area could make it even harder to find open spaces.

During its budget retreat a few weeks ago, the city council proposed spending $250,000 from its hospitality fund to install 500 meters downtown.

The money earned from the meters would go into a parking district fund and be used toward improving or adding new parking lots or a parking deck.

Wood said if the meters are installed, taxpayers would not have to shoulder the expense of future parking improvements unless they use the meters.

Right now city council proposed the meters would cost $1 per hour from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

All of the proposed information for parking costs, days, and times could be changed.

Tracey Pickens, a clothing consultant at the Haberdashery, said he thinks the change would push customers away and that parking isn’t really the issue.

“We feel like it would really run customers off. When you’re keeping the customers at bay by charging them to park, it’s not a great idea. There’s parking in Conway. There are some big lots that you can go and park in, but you do have to walk a little bit. As the old saying goes, we don’t have a parking problem, we have a walking problem,” said Pickens.

On the other hand, Malay Carboni, owner of U.S. International Beauty Salon said she’s on board with bringing meters back to downtown.

“I think it’s a great idea. You’ll be able to control that meter yourself instead of worrying if the two hours is up and you have to move your car. One dollar per hour is not going to kill anybody. Plus, the city needs to increase its revenue to grow. I don’t mind,” said Carboni.

The meters would be installed along Main St., Laurel St., Elm St., Beaty St., Kingston St., Norman Alley, and 4th, 3rd and 2nd Avenues.

The proposed parking meters are being considered with the city’s 2023-2024 municipal budget that would require two votes from the city council before July 1.