Thomasville needs more parking -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Thomasville needs more parking

March 21, 2008

Thomasville --  Thomasville is a small town with a big downtown draw for shoppers.
That means there's often a shortage of downtown parking. So now, some merchants are pushing for a downtown parking garage.

Thomasville's historic Broad street is not only lined with bricks, it's lined with cars. Kathy Murphy, owner of Kathy's has been downtown for 23 years.  "There's a few days that people will come in and say 'Oh I had to drive around the block several times before I could find a parking place.'"

Part of the problem comes when people who work downtown park on Broad Street and leave their cars all day, says the Director of Main Street, Karen Smith.  "You're not being fair to yourself, or other merchants that are around you when you take those parking spaces."

That's because with 8 hour days, 30 minute turnover, an average of $5 spent each visit, each parking space is valued at $18,400 a year to the business behind it.

But Smith says there are other options for store owners and customers who can't immediately find a space. "We have municipal parking lots that's right behind the buildings and there's walk ways back out onto the street."

"Most of the stores have a backdoor that they'll let their customers use if there is a problem parking in front," said Murphy.

She says even if you do have to walk a block or two, you might make a valuable discovery.  "There are shops on Jackson Street and Madison Street that people might not know about, because they just go up and down Broad. But we've got some other great shops also."

All in all most merchants say packed parking spaces isn't such a bad thing.  "Its a wonderful problem, I like that kind of problem. I like to be too busy!" Murphy says.

And they're confident their loyal customers will find a way to get to their favorite shops.

There are about 350 on-street parking spaces and about 430 spaces in municipal parking lots surrounding downtown.


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