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Negotiations Drag On as Water St. Parking Garage Closure Looms

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

Charlottesville's Water Street Parking Garage could be just a few days away from closing indefinitely.

Those who pay for a monthly pass at the garage may be out of luck if both sides controlling the issue don't work something out by Friday, May 6.

Heated negotiations between Charlottesville Parking Center (CPC) and city members on the board that manages the garage haven't made any progress on a solution.

CPC President Mark Brown wants to increase the hourly and monthly rates for “pooled parking units” (unreserved parking spots) at the garage to reflect what he believes is fair market value. Members of the garage's management board - which is equally made up of the CPC and city staff - are at odds over the possible rate increase.

The CPC filed a lawsuit against the city of Charlottesville over the market rates, and Charlottesville filed a countersuit on Friday, April 29. Brown has said the garage could close May 6 if there's no agreement.

The Water Street Parking Garage Condominium Association met Tuesday morning to discuss problems threatening the parking deck's future.

Nothing came out of that meeting, and gates could still lock up by the weekend.

The Charlottesville City Council took up the issue during an executive session Monday night, but councilors are not commenting about how they'll move forward.

Monthly pass customers paid between $120-$135 at the start of the month, and some are upset they could be denied parking.

"I don't know where I'm going to park. If this closes in three days and I've already paid for the month, I mean this is deducted out of my check every month with my employer and there's really no other available parking," said Tiffany Margerum.

Brown told the city members of the governing board that his employees will stop working on May 6 if they can't work out a budget that includes new parking rates.

So for right now, anyone that parks in the Water Street Parking Garage should plan ahead, because there is a real possibility it will be inaccessible Friday.

Statement from the City of Charlottesville:

The City is disappointed that Charlottesville Parking Center has threatened to close the Water Street Parking Garage, rather than to honor its management contract with the owners of the garage.

For the past 40 years the City and CPC have worked collaboratively to ensure the economic vitality of downtown, by providing affordable parking.

The City remains committed to that goal and has worked, and will continue to work, to ensure that the Water Street Parking Garage remains open for business.

It is our hope that CPC will keep the needs of the public, downtown businesses and visitors in mind, and reconsider its threat to close the Water Street Parking Garage.

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