Gulfport business owners at war with two-hour parking
There’s a parking battle in downtown Gulfport. Business owners in Gulfport’s historic district are frustrated by the parking restrictions.
Right now, there’s a two-hour parking limit for visitors between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Individuals who exceed the two-hour parking window are subject to $25 fines.
13th Street Salon and Barber Owner Hannah O’Keefe said, “As of right now, I can see five cars parked and there’s 30 empty spots. They come through and ticket the cars that are here.”
For O’Keefe, two hours simply isn’t enough time for her patrons. A majority of coloring services take more than that and several of her clients have received parking tickets. In turn, she comps the $25 fee off client’s tickets. “I don’t want someone to have to pay for a full process of color then turn around and pay an additional $25 in parking fees.”
Gulfport Main Street Executive Director Laurie Toups said, “We feel that offering the free limited parking is the best practice for Downtown Gulfport. We want to make sure everyone has access to the businesses here, but I would be more than happy to meet with the individual businesses here on where they can park their employees and their guests on where they can park if they may be there longer than two hours.”
O’Keefe is aware of other free parking near her salon, but has concerns with her elderly clients having to walk that far. “With the flow of traffic that we have and the amount of open spots that we have on 13th Street, I feel like we can take this street off of two-hour parking. If the two-hour parking is a thing and there’s absolutely no way around it and there’s absolutely nothing that we can do then we would have to look at moving the business. “
O’Keefe isn’t the only downtown business owner disgruntled by the limited parking. She and others are voicing their concerns at the upcoming city council meeting.