WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY)-- Parking in downtown Wilmington is facing major changes. Fee and ticket increases will be just a few of the adjustments made to help make up for an $800,000 shortfall.
Wilmington City Council voted to change the 90 minute grace period of the parking decks on 2nd Street and Market Street to 60 minutes. Then they changed the deck fee for festival and event parking from $5 to $7.
"The point of coming down here is so you can walk up and down and enjoy the people and the places. Nobody is going to come down here if they have to pay for that," said Wilmington visitor Forrest Drake.
One of the other major changes coming in January of 2012 will be a pay in lane at those decks. That means a ticket machine will begin collecting 24 hours a day, thus closing the loophole that currently allows for free parking when the decks are not manned for over 80 hours a week.
Also voted on and passed was the increase of parking tickets from $15 to $20 and the price of a lost ticket from $5 to $8.
"I think it's ridiculous," said Cecil Drake, another Wilmington visitor. "It's like everything is going up (in price) and you don't even have the freedom to come down and park somewhere and visit the city. I think it's going to drive a lot of people off."
City Council will visit extending the hours of parking meters downtown in April of next year.