New Bern officials hold public hearing to hear concerns over parking

NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) – Parking was at the center of discussion for city leaders and community members Tuesday night.

It’s apart of the board’s plan to seek out information from the public and hear what they have to say.

The past revitalization efforts have made it difficult for the city to keep up with the constant growth over the years.

It’s an issue for business owners in the downtown area including David Blythe, owner of Branch’s Furniture.

“Freeing up parking places for tourist and customers for the general population for even in surrounding areas will only benefit each and every downtown business.”

Blythe’s family has owned the furniture store for more than 20 years and he said the problem continues to show up.

“The downtown has seen a revival over the past 20-30 years and therefore a revival of parking issues needs to be addressed,” said Blythe.

Dozens of other merchants packed inside City Hall to hear the recommendations from the city’s parking advisory committee.

Some of the recommendations include increasing the parking fines from $25 to $50, putting up designated signs for parking and enforcing the on-street parking between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Alderman Jeffrey Odham believes the problem isn’t quite easy to fix.

“The problem we face is if we figure out one problem, another one arises,” said Odham.

Business owners like Blythe said it would be easier for merchants and visitors to have designated spots for drivers.

“Every business down here will benefit from parking which will be available for customers as well as tourist,” said Blythe.

The board plans to revisit the issue in the first week of February.

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