Mayor Robert Rappold has announced that the City of Beckley will allow free parking at the parking meters along Neville and Main Streets and in the parking lot near the State Building and Word Park during a two-hour period for lunch, from 11:30 am to 1:30 pmMonday thru Friday. According to Mayor Rappold, “This is an experimental promotion to encourage people to patronize downtown restaurants and retail businesses.”  Parking Commission Chair Ann Worley agrees with the promotion and says that the parking commissioners (who are also city council members) plan to conduct a parking survey/study over the next couple of months.

The experimental lunch promotion will last over the next 120 days – the parking commission will re-evaluate the promotion over that time and decide whether to continue it.  Parking fees will continue to be enforced at other areas of downtown during the lunch period.  Parking fees will still be required on Neville and Main Streets and in the Word Park lot from 8:00 am to 11:30 am and from 1:30 pm to 4:00 pm.  All parking downtown is free during the evening/overnight hours from 4:00 pm to 8:00 am and throughout the day on Saturday, Sundays and on holidays.

In response to a request for all downtown parking to be free, Worley says “With the bond commitments and the number of employees working downtown, it would be difficult.  Our downtown has Federal, State, and County employees along with other professional services’ employees.  We have learned from the past that many times employees will park in the prime spots, thus not affording visitors/customers the most convenient parking spots.  We hope to identify ways to improve the parking experience downtown during our meetings and surveying of downtown businesses.”  The next parking commission meeting will be on Tuesday, March 27 following the regular city council meeting at 6:30 pm.