FAIRMONT - The two-hour parking limit in downtown Fairmont is creating a shortage of space in the city's eight-hour lots, according to business owners in the area of Third and Park streets.
The two-hour parking limit has been in place for years, but only last February did the city start enforcing it, handing out $25 tickets to violators, due to complaints about a shortage of two-hour parking spaces. The enforcement effort has forced more downtown employees and customers to use the eight-hour lots, and forced Fairmont business owners to find solutions of their own.
"We need parking," said Roger Harris, part-owner of Curves and owner of Hairdressers, both in the 200 block of Third Street.
On Monday, workers with Steuber Excavating began tearing down the building originally owned by Fairmont Motor Supply, located at the corner of Third and Park. It had been occupied by various businesses over the years, most recently Fretty's Upholstery, but had been vacant until Harris took the initiative to have the dilapidated structure demolished. In its place will be a parking lot to accommodate customers who frequent neighborhood establishments.
"It's more parking for all of us," said Deric Brown, an owner at the E Z Wash laundromat on Park Street, who stood alongside Harris watching the demolition on Monday afternoon.
"Oh yeah," was the simultaneous response from Brown, Harris and colleague Bill Haycraft, when asked if downtown parking has been problematic.
"Everybody's always fighting for a spot back here," Haycraft said.
The city did take action in August to add more eight-hour spaces, by eliminating the two-hour restriction on Main Street, one block east of Downtown Plaza, and opening more parking stalls for businesses and individuals to lease. Also, US Bank agreed to switch some of its stalls from two-hour parking to eight.