El Paso City Council to keep evaluating charging residents near ballpark a 'fair' fee to park

EL PASO, Texas - The El Paso City Council on Tuesday decided to further evaluate if it's charging residents who live next to the ballpark a fair fee to park.

Two weeks ago, the Council had voted to implement a residential parking zone in the San Francisco Historic neighborhood, a row of older apartment buildings next to the downtown ballpark. The parking zone is intended to protect the residents parking from baseball fans who will try to park there on game days. Residents will have to pay $30 a year for a permit for their first vehicle and $200 for the second vehicle. Visitors who park in the area without the permit will be fined or towed.

But residents  have spoken out against the $200 second vehicle fee, saying it was excessive.  "I do have four cars. So will I incur $600 on top of the $30 fee? And I have my son living with me so that's $800. That's going to take away money from me going to the ballpark," one resident told City Representatives.

City Rep Cortney Niland said other residents who live downtown also pay the $200 for the second vehicle permit. She said the fees pay for the extra enforcement from police officers who protect the residents parking. Council decided to study the issue for 60 days but in the mean time, residents still have to buy the permits - and if the city lowers the price - the residents would be reimbursed.

"What we're trying to decide right now is, 'ok, what the fee structure appropriate? Are we covering our costs?' Maybe what we need to do is actually experience the actual entertainment venue in production to kinda see what that impact is going to be," said NIland.

Council also voted to expand an already existing residential parking zone in Sunset Heights, another neighborhood close the ballpark.Permits there, where demand is lighter, will only cost $10 dollars a car per year.

The City is not moving forward with a  proposal for 75 metered parking spaces on West franklin street near the ballpark. The plan was to charge people parking there up to $2.50 an hour on game days.

Instead, the City reserve 45 spaces for MountainStar sports on game days. The spaces were promised to MountainStar in the original contract with the ownership group. When there's no game going on, 30 of those spaces will be available to the public.

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