SPOKANE, Wash.--The Spokane Parks Department is charging for parking at the Dwight Merkel Sports Complex for the first time.
Leaders said the money would help keep the facility running. They began charging for parking in July. Yet, not everyone is pleased with the decision.
“This last weekend was a fiasco,” said Fuccy Buckenburger who works with the American Softball Association. “We had people waiting 20 to 30 minutes to get in,” added Buckenburger as he described a recent volleyball tournament at the complex.
Park Department employee, Carl Strong said parking costs $3 a day and $5 for two days on big event weekends. However, it does not affect parking at Joe Albi Stadium.
“We're trying to lessen the burden on the tax dollars,” said Strong. “We're given as much as we can by efficiency on maintenance and trying to lower our costs."
Strong said the change has been in the works for years. One of the first weekends with paid parking raised more than $6,000 according to workers.
Buckenburger said it was not the cost people were complaining about, but the kinks that still need to be worked out.
"Some people were complaining because they wanted to drop off their relative with disability closer,” added Buckenburger. “But at the time, there was no agreement that they could. They had to walk from Joe Albi."
Park leaders said the plan extends through next year and they are open to suggestions.