WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – The City of Wilmington is raising downtown parking rates on August 1st. Street parking will now cost two dollars per hour, and if you are planning on parking in the 2nd Street or Market Street parking decks, only the first 30 minutes will be free instead of 90 minutes free.
“[People] don’t want to pay to come in and shop somewhere,” Jacob Motsinger, co-owner of Memory Lane Comics. “It was a selling point of us moving down here was that we got an hour and a half of parking for everybody for free. And we were like, ‘We’re gonna move right next to a parking deck, it’ll be an hour and a half for free.’ If you need more than I have to shop for comic books, like you might as well pay for it. But that was always kind of like a point of like, it’s not new. It’s all doable. And it definitely feels like it’s a bit of a strain.”
Memory Lane Comics is on the corner of 2nd Street and Princess Street in downtown Wilmington. Motsinger owns the business with his brother– he said they have been there for about five years now and recently opened up a second location just across the street because they love it so much. Now, he says this higher cost of parking might hurt his business.
“I’m sure we have a lot more people that are that are in and out as opposed to take a minute and shopping around. Now it’s almost like we can ship it to you in town for cheaper than your ability to get down here and shop,” Motsinger said.
He says most of his employees live close enough that they walk to work, but other businesses, especially restaurants, say they aren’t too happy about the rate increases because employees will have to pay those rates, which in turn comes right out of their paychecks.
The city’s parking staff did a study last year to compare Wilmington to other cities like Asheville and Charleston, and Wilmington’s parking rates were much lower than others.
Motsinger says that’s what sets Wilmington apart, so he hopes rates don’t increase any more than they already have.
“I get why they would want to compare us to places like that, but I want to be better than Asheville or Charleston. That’s why we live here,” he said. “I don’t think this point prices us out of being able to do this, but anything more than that would make us at the start to consider what we would read want to be with the business.”
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