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Findlay Market Parking Changes Gets Mixed Reviews

Ann Thompson
Findlay Market says it increased parking fees to prevent long-term and all-day parkers from taking up space.

As Findlay Market approaches one of its busiest seasons, patrons and employees are discovering they have to pay more to park, especially on the weekends. Some merchants say it's a needed change to free up parking spaces. Others say the extra cost and hassle of downloading an app is hurting their business.

According to Corporation for Findlay Market Spokeswoman Kelly Lanser, parking rates have increased to $2 dollars an hour both during the week and weekends.

She says the increase is to help discourage long-term and all-day parkers. "They were parking vehicles for extended stays while market shoppers were driving around looking for spots and sometimes just leaving," she says.

For customers during the week, parking for the first hour is still free. Through the CincyEZ Park app until Dec. 1, shoppers can use the code "SHOPFINDLAY" to get up to $3 off parking. After Dec. 1, some merchants will give customers codes for up to $3 off during the week and $1 off on the weekends.

Employees Have To Park In Other Lots And Pay Extra For Weekends

Lanser says employees can buy a monthly parking pass for $45 for parking in the south or west lot Monday through Friday. But that pass only works during the week. Workers are on the hook for the $2 an hour rate during weekends, or must find a place on the street.

A handful of owners and workers told WVXU they don't feel safe having to park farther away, and in some cases, say customers don't want to mess with downloading the EZPark app or entering in their license plate number at the parking kiosk.

Owner of Areti's Gyros George Papastergiou says his business is down 80% because of the extra hassle. "They're losing time off their job, off their lunch time," he says of his patrons.

But Neil Luken of Neil Luken Meats says people were taking advantage of the cheap parking lot and staying there all day. "This is a customer parking lot, not a parking lot for work vehicles, not a parking lot for construction vehicles, not a parking lot for people to park out there all day."

Luken says the parking changes will help grow Findlay Market and get more customers.

Some Customers Surprised

Customer Ed Jurevic didn't seem to mind. He recently moved back from St. Louis and couldn't believe how reasonable the Findlay Market parking is. "We were pleasantly surprised we could park for free, put our license plate number in and move on," he says.

For Richard Butz, who was buying chicken at Heist Fish & Poultry, it's easy now that he's downloaded the app. "Well, it was intimidating at first, but it's easier now."

Spokeswoman Lanser says Findlay Market public surveys show the No. 1 complaint is a lack of available parking.

Ann Thompson has decades of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting.