Walton Arts Center exploring paid parking

The most popular parking lot in Fayetteville’s entertainment district might not be free for much longer.

The Walton Arts Center and the City of Fayetteville held a press event Monday to announce intentions to begin formal discussions about a new parking option for three parking lots surrounding the arts center. The discussions will explore converting the lots from free to paid during certain times and are primarily being fueled by what the Walton Arts Center sees as a growing parking problem around its facility during events.

Click for larger view

A recently commissioned survey of Walton Arts Center patrons shows that in the last five years, satisfaction with parking has dropped significantly. In fact, over two-thirds of those surveyed indicated frustration surrounding the ability to find convenient parking during Walton Arts Center events.

According to materials provided by Walton Arts Center, the main West Street lot is full by 6:30 pm on a typical weekend. On an average day, WAC says about 10% of the cars have been left overnight and many of those tend to stay for multiple days.

The parking lots affected would be the previously mentioned main Walton Arts Center lot, the smaller lot at West and Spring and the lot on N. School between Smiling Jack’s Fresh Foods and Highroller Cyclery.

The details such as cost and timing have not yet been worked out but with the possibility of the Walton Arts Center moving away from Fayetteville still on the table, is seems probable that city officials will want to keep the performing arts center happy in its current location. The City currently owns the lots in question.

As a key economic driver in the Dickson Street entertainment district, Walton Arts Center says it brings nearly 150,000 people to the area – 45% from outside Washington County – for more than 100 performances each year.