BEAUFORT, SC (WTOC) - Folks in downtown Beaufort might be getting more parking spaces, the city is looking to buy a property and convert it into a 75-space parking lot.
This potential public parking lot is about three blocks from popular areas like Bay Street and Riverfront Park. The city says 75 parking spaces won't solve downtown's ongoing parking problems, but it's a good place to start.
Limited downtown parking has been a hot topic in Beaufort for the past year.
"It is kind of hard to find parking all the time because there's so many workers and there's so many tourists that want to come. I think if they did build a parking lot wherever they wanted to, I think it would be a great idea," said Katie Fitzpatrick, downtown employee.
The city says the proposed parking lot on Carteret Street will help downtown employees like Fitzpatrick, who spends a good bit of money parking near Bay Street just to go to work.
"Especially if you work in the mornings. We get here around 10 a.m. and then we get off at about 5. That's a lot of money. Especially a dollar each hour," said Fitzpatrick.
Beaufort Mayor Billy Keyserling believes the extra parking will save employees money – while freeing up some of the parking options closer to Bay Street.
"People who go to the library, people who go to the visitor center, people who downtown will want a preferred parking at a discounted preferred rate will hopefully use this which will allow the turnover that is desired on Bay Street," said Mayor Keyserling.
The cost to buy the parking lot hasn't been released yet, but the city is planning on using funds from selling other properties to foot the bill. The mayor says they'll definitely get a return on their investment.
"We see this as having many functions. The first, the additional parking. The second, beginning to support that want to be in part of the greater downtown and not just Bay Street, and 3rd is employee parking, which we know has been a challenge," said Mayor Keyserling.
If the council decides to buy this property, they plan on leasing or re-selling the office space in the building. Council will make a final decision Tuesday night.