City Pushes Ad Campaign

DICKSON STREET PARKING CHANGES COMING SOON

— The city’s Advertising and Promotion Commission does not want visitors to Dickson Street suft ering any sort of sticker shock after Fayetteville launches a comprehensive paid parking plan for the entertainment district.

The tourism board plans an ad campaign alerting motorists of not only new parking rates and other policies, but an explanation of why the new parking plan is a good idea.

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“It’s an initiative that probably needs to be put in place,” said Neal Crawford, a member of the commission. Crawford is also a Dickson Street restaurant owner. “Most of us know about this, but the general public doesn’t.”

Details of the ad campaign and what scope it may take are still fuzzy. That will be worked out by commission officials and the Sells Agency, the firm contracted to handle advertising. However, it could include radio or television spots, or new signs, according to discussions by the commissioners during Monday’s meeting.

Ultimately, the commission wants to address confusion or frustration related to parking, before it becomes a problem.

“I think if you don’t frame the issue before it becomes an issue, then you’re reacting,” said Mike Sells, president and CEO of the Sells agency.

In early June the City Council approved several ordinances to transform nearly 1,000 free parking spaces in the Dickson Street entertainment district to paid parking. Also, the residential streets surrounding the area are off-limits to anyone other than registered residents and their guests.

The program is expected to be launched by the end of August.

The money earned will be earmarked for construction of a parking structure and to provide money for the Walton Arts Center.

Commission off icials intend to highlight aspects of the program that will benefit visitors. For example, tow companies can no longer charge more than $60 to tow a car for overtime parking.

Past rates have been known to reach $100, with limited form-of-payment options. Also, motorcycles get a 50 percent parking discount.

“I think you should promote the program so that it will be advantageous for the entertainment district,” said Bob Davis, commission member .

“I like the idea of us being proactive on this,” Davis added.

The commission also adopted a new policy to encourage festivals and other events to keep the environment in mind, by putting together a list of recommendations of what the event can do to reduce its drain on the environment.

The ideas range from using tap water rather than bottled, or biodegradable cutlery made from corn starch.

“The down side is that corn-based cutlery costs,” Crawford noted. “Then they have to raise their prices.”

The list is only a set of recommendations, but is not required.