Parking Changes Under Way in Downtown Dover - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Parking Changes Under Way in Downtown Dover

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DOVER, Del. - Changes are coming to downtown Dover in the form of parking.

"I think it's going to be a great thing for downtown," said Erik Maybus, co-owner of Bayard Pharmacy in Dover.

Not everyone agrees with Maybus. With more than 50 EZ Pass employees moving into a downtown building in March, some business owners, like those at A Center For Mental Wellness say they will lose their parking spaces.
     
"We understand that some of those folks are not as happy as we'd like them to be. We're talking to them, listening to them and we're going to tweak our plan," said Greg Moore, president of Downtown Dover Partnership.

It's a plan that some frustrated business owners would not speak with WBOC on camera about Wednesday. Off camera they tell WBOC, they're not concerned with a new business moving in. They're concerned with the loss of their spot and having to park further away from their business.

DDP agreed to a contract that designates 85 EZ Pass employee parking spaces. For example, according to a parking plan, permits for the Bradford Street lot are being sold to those EZ pass employees only. No other downtown employees or customers will have access to these spaces.

"Right now people are dwelling on the negative. We have parking that is being used by a new business.  It's change. We still have over 200 parking spots that are free on our downtown streets that, sometimes, are not used. Depending on where you are, you can find a spot and it's free," said Moore.

Lauren Tinsley, owner of A Center For Mental Wellness, spoke with WBOC via phone about her concerns. She says initially, there was never a meeting to inform merchants of the changes to come.

"We were left feeling pretty shocked. We are all about welcoming new business in. We read the information in the paper and we had never seen the map. We thought we were valued as a merchants," said Tinsley.

Tinsley says her employees and clients will have to park not too far away in the Governor's Avenue lot. She says she would like to see more lighting, surveillance cameras and police patrols to make her and others feel safer after dark.  
 
"They  (DDP and city leaders) have been working really hard to try to brainstorm and figure out some solutions," said Tinsley.

Cameron Llewellyn recently moved into the Sunray Professional Center in downtown Dover.

"I feel like I have a vested interest in all these other vendors being successful. I feel like if we have a positive image and downtown Dover we'll get people to patronize these businesses. If everybody cries the blues, oh woe is me, we're never going to see the growth that we hope for," said Cameron Llewellyn, president of Tidemark Construction.

Maybus says while change may be difficult, it can also be rewarding.

"We deliver prescriptions. We can bring them right to their office, so it's exciting for us. We have a real opportunity to grow our business here and we're excited. Not to mention all the new people that come downtown for EZ passes," said Maybus.

Tinsley says some of the merchants are forming a merchant's association to help improve communication.

"Hopefully this is a learning experience for everyone," said Tinsley.

The DDP and city leaders will hold a meeting at 6:30 p.m. On February 19, at the Dover Public Library to discuss a parking update.

The parking changes will be done through what's called a 'soft' roll out during the month of February, allowing drivers to get used to the changes. This also means, police will not issue any parking citations, according to DDP. Signs will also be installed alerting drivers of the changes.

Enforcement won't begin until March 1.

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