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Parking at a Premium in Downtown Cary

Cary town leaders plan to spend tens of thousands of dollars to figure out downtown parking.

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CARY, N.C. — As finding downtown parking spots becomes more difficult, Cary town officials plan to spend close to $60,000 to formulate a plan to create more spaces.

Ashworth Drugs has been filling prescriptions for more than 50 years, but that business is dependent on its customers easily finding parking, owner Paul Ashworth said.

"Businesses like ours can't survive without customers feeling like that you are convenient and easy to get to," Ashworth explained.

Other downtown business owners agree that traffic has picked up over the years, placing parking at a premium.

"We have a lot of customers that come in and they can't find parking, especially during the lunch hour," said Julie Luchene, a worker at Bedazzled bead shop.

The town government is holding a series of workshops to come up with ways to create more parking spaces downtown. However, planners are finding that paying for an open spot might be more painful than trying to find a free one.

"Right now, a structured parking facility goes for between $16,000 and $20,000 a space, so it's not an insignificant expense," Anne Morris, a downtown development planner, said.

Workers at Bedazzled worried that the cost of parking might be passed onto them and their customers.

"I think they need to create more parking, but not at the expense of the person who is coming down here to park," Luchene said.

Town officials said they have no immediate plans to create paid parking downtown. For now, their priority is planning and designing more parking spaces, officials said.

"The focus of the plan is looking to the future," Morris said.

Planners will use the results of a downtown business survey and feedback from Thursday night's meeting to create a draft plan, which they will present at a public meeting in January.

"I think that (planning) can't do anything but help the image that downtown is a friendly and safe place to be," Ashworth said.



Mark Simpson, Photographer
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