The question is, will Fayetteville Woodpeckers baseball fans know how to get to the new ballpark? “We will absolutely be ready for our first home baseball game on April 18,” said city of Fayetteville spokesman Kevin Arata.
He was asked by Up & Coming Weekly about plans the city has to accommodate public parking during games at the baseball stadium on Hay Street. “For the April 13th ribbon-cutting event, parking downtown will be free, as with most other past large events downtown,” he said.
“Finding public parking is difficult for visitors,” consultant Jon Martens told Fayetteville City Council during the Feb. 4 council work session. He added that making the public aware of available parking is a major challenge that must be undertaken by city government. Martens said many people he spoke with didn’t know there’s a parking garage on Franklin Street — within walking distance of the stadium.
For families who don’t know their way around downtown, Martens suggested pole signs with recognizable logos could be used to locate off-street parking lots. The city has the capability of building signs, but at this point they are not in the plan, according to Arata.
The city is depending on social media to help visitors find parking lots. Parking locations can be found on the city’s website, Arata said, and by downloading the city of Fayetteville mobile app and clicking “downtown parking” on the menu.
“In a nutshell, we know what we have to do for instituting the parking changes recommended. We just need to figure out the specifics of how to do it,” said Arata.
City government has received responses “from firms with expertise in this area to address the suggestions received from our consultant on the recent parking study,” Arata added. He said city staff wants to hear how those in the know can provide implementation plans and costs associated with those plans.
City Council will eventually make decisions about parking needs. “I believe the city is prepared to meet the parking demand that will be created by the new stadium,” Fayetteville Mayor Mitch Colvin said. “There are always areas that cannot be fully anticipated, but I have the utmost confidence in our staff to address any issues that may arise.”
The Cool Spring Downtown District and the Fayetteville Area System of Transit suggested trollies to shuttle visitors downtown. City traffic engineer Lee Jernigan also liked the idea of shuttle buses.
“Park-and-ride shuttles from areas beyond the immediate center city could be adopted,” Jernigan said in October 2018. He stated that additional considerations, such as providing convenient parking for the disabled, “would be available in a month or two.” They were not.
“I do have concerns for the elderly and handicapped,” District 2 Fayetteville City Councilman Dan Culliton said at the Feb. 4 council work session.
At the same meeting, council members opposed the shuttle trollies and turned down the proposal. Members said they didn’t want to spend tax money for a project that should be offered by private business.
The city is spending $40 million to build the minor league stadium.