The Advertising and Promotion Commission yesterday discussed the possibility of an ad campaign to educate people about the newly implemented paid parking plan.
The discussion was introduced by commissioner Neal Crawford, who owns Jose’s on Dickson Street. “We all know why the city is doing this, but most of the general public doesn’t,” said Crawford. “Plus, we have a small window of opportunity here,” he added. “We have to hit this before it happens.”
The plan, which will eliminate free parking in the Dickson Street entertainment area, could be in place by the end of August.
Some commissioners suggested the city install signs informing drivers of the new parking areas and rates, but Crawford stressed that educating people about the positive impact the paid parking plan could have on the area is the main reason he’d like to see an advertising campaign.
“We need to keep our customers attracted and explain to them why we’re doing what we’re doing,” said Crawford.
The money generated from paid parking in the area will be earmarked for a downtown parking deck and will provide revenue for the Walton Arts Center.
Mike Sells, president of the commission’s advertising firm, The Sells Agency, said he agreed that it would be better to frame the plan before it becomes a problem instead of reacting to issues individually.
A&P Director Marilyn Heifner said she would work with Sells to see if she could move money around to buy some local advertising for the campaign.