YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – As more people come downtown on evenings and weekends, “free parking” may be leaving. Some folks found out the hard way Friday night.
Several people had their cars towed from a recently updated parking lot at Phelps and Boardman Streets. The lot used to be free on weekend evenings.
Mohammed Musleh is a bartender at The Federal downtown. “Honestly, I think it’s absolutely ridiculous as it is,” says Musleh. “They didn’t give anybody a fair warning. They never let anybody know that these rules were going into effect.”
WKBN called the operator A.B.M. Parking services Saturday, but didn’t hear back.
Oh Wow! Children’s Center Executive Director Suzanne Barbati says the parking lot owner recently had a building demolished on the property. “They’ve repaved. They’ve made all new lines. They’ve put in some new equipment. So I’m sure that this is just an effort on their part to get a return on that investment.”
There are signs that read “No Free Parking at Any Time,” and a parking machine to accept payments.
“It’s a good thing, I think, for us to have free parking, at least in the evenings and weekends to bring parking downtown,” says Musleh. “I’m sure whoever got their cars towed last night aren’t going to be coming back for a little while.”
But Barbati thinks times may be changing. “I think the days of free parking are over. I think the downtown area is seeing a renaissance, a comeback. And I know that there are other interesting things to do downtown.”