FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — If you’ve been down to the Fayetteville entertainment district lately, you know it’s not always easy to find a parking spot. That’s why stakeholders on Dickson Street are taking a closer look at the parking situation.
The Dickson Street area continues to grow to bring more people down here but the number of parking spaces hasn’t increased in recent years.
That’s why this coalition is having the first comprehensive look at parking in downtown Fayetteville.
“As anyone in Northwest Arkansas can tell you, we’ve got some serious parking issues on Dickson Street. Whether you are coming to town for a football game or a Walton Arts Center event or just for dinner or a show, it’s difficult to find parking on any given night but especially when there is an event,” said Bill Waite.
Bill Waite has owned the Dickson Street Liquor store for 20 years. He is also part of the Dickson Street Merchants Association.
He says the city's parking infrastructure is already taxed, creating unpleasant customer experiences and driving people away from Dickson Street.
“Now is the time to look at it, now is the time to do something about it. It’s our chance to take care of this problem now and do it right, not just for now but for future generations. We want to keep Dickson street the crown jewel of Northwest Arkansas,” he said.
The coalition, representing tourism, businesses and developers has hired a consulting firm to conduct a study to assess the existing parking supply and demand, estimate the future parking demands, and determine if more parking is needed and where it should go.
The consultant will collect data over three weekends -- including one with a performance at the Walton Arts Center, the weekend of the Arkansas-Alabama game, and one without a major event.
“There are a lot of eyes on this area, understandably so with the university growth and just because of the growth of the area and the popularity of the entertainment district,” said Justin Tennant.
Justin Tennant is a Walton Arts Center board member and former Fayetteville council member. With more proposed development, he fears the parking problem will only get worse.
“When you talk about a possible hotel, maybe another apartment building or two, you are looking at the residents being affected, you are looking at guests and visitors of our town being affected,” he said.
The study will start here on Dickson Street next weekend. They say it could take 3 to four months to complete. A new parking garage is under construction on west avenue...
But it will only replace the spaces being taken away for the ramble project on the Dickson and west parking lot.
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