Hey, folks.

If you haven't heard about the project I've been managing, check out our project site here: https://www.vanwertforward.org/

This is a multi-year, multi-phase project driven by the non-profit county foundation I work for to take some of Van Wert's blighted and neglected downtown and revitalize it to be a vibrant and thriving place.

The question I have relates to parking, as most folks around here would say we have a parking problem. Parking supply is clearly not the issue, though, as we have well over 1000 spaces just downtown in a town of ~10,000. We do need to plan for the future, as our project is certain to create more parking demand. I believe the problem could be lack of turnover on main thoroughfares, lack of signage for public parking, and especially private spaces that remain vacant for at least 16 hours a day. There's also a culture here, as in many places, of driving exactly to your destination and parking there.

I am considering advocating for a parking authority to manage parking downtown of anyone willing to buy in. Public entities would likely establish the authority, and private property owners would have the opportunity to pay a fee for the authority to manage their spaces. This is a rough concept, but I have no experience on parking authorities. Is this feasible for our community? Would it be helpful, or could it create a restrictive bureaucracy? Would it be an opportunity to improve our parking culture so it's a healthy and efficient asset downtown, or would it encourage more over-production of parking supply?