(WMC-TV) - Many around the Mid-South flock to Cooper-Young for its unique restaurants and atmosphere, but the shortage in parking spaces sends many patrons home with parking tickets. City leaders believe a parking garage could be the solution, but not everyone agrees.
"They get tickets all the time because they don't have room to park over here," said resident Donald Fowler.
The business association is asking the City Council for $3.4 million to build a 150-space, two-story parking garage. If approved, buildings at Young Avenue and Blythe Street would be replaced by the parking garage.
"The Cooper-Young district has over 180 businesses, and there's a tremendous need for parking," said Cooper-Young Business Association spokesman David Upton.
Councilman Lee Harris said the city should find money to invest in community growth like Cooper-Young, before considering International Paper's current $3.5 million request for building upgrades.
"If you work at International Paper, you're going to benefit, but the rest of us? Not so much," said Harris.
He said the neighborhood first needs consensus.
"We've heard a lot of mixed response," said Harris.
Some said bad parking runs off new business. Others fear the garage could turn into blight.
"We can't say our neighborhood is going to stay stable," said business owner June Taylor.
Some business owners worry about people currently walking several blocks to park.
"In terms of safety, that's an issue," said Katrina Pure from Polish Bottle Aesthetician on Young Avenue.
Others think the garage will draw crime.
The council discussed alternatives, including a shuttle to Cooper-Young from the future Overton Square garage. If you are a resident or business owner you can take a survey here.
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