BEAUFORT, N.C. (WNCT) — The changes to paid parking in Beaufort this year are causing some issues for downtown businesses.
The town of Beaufort said they have already given out more tickets this year than in past years. Some local businesses are saying that’s bad for their customers.
The changes to paid parking were supposed to improve business in the downtown area. But Beaufort Antiques owner Terry Mawhorter said, “I think we can safely say it hasn’t helped business. If we didn’t have it, I think our business would indeed be better.”
Mayor Rett Newton said the town had been working on improvements to help businesses.
“We’ve got better signage now,” said Newton. “We’re getting more information on the kiosks themselves. So that feedback loop is really helpful.”
And local business owners say the town has been responsive to their concerns.
“They have been, absolutely,” said Mawhoter. “But it’s a slow process in terms of the response. and there are still issues to deal with.”
But they say they are still losing customers over the tickets they’re receiving.
“I’ve had some people come,” said Mawhoter, “and say ‘we’re not going to come back to Beaufort anymore because we’re not going to pay to park.’”
Mayor Newton said the change will be positive for the town overall.
“It’s a revenue stream,” said Newton. “This is not coming from taxpayer money. The revenue stream from this paid parking will go to the beautification of downtown Beaufort.”
The town said they’ve gotten good feedback from visitors.
“Out of town visitors come in,” said Rachel Johnson, “and have been surprised where in years past they couldn’t find parking right where they wanted to be, this year they’re able to find that parking. So that turnover is working and the paid parking is helping with that situation.”
The pay to park season will end in September.
Mayor Newton said any local business owner is welcome to call town hall with concerns and he will help to address them.