By Dave "Dino" DeNatale, Bri Buckley, Lydia Esparra
On Monday, Cleveland City Council approved legislation sought by the Bibb administration to increase the rates to park at various city-owned parking garages and lots, plus parking meters. By Tuesday, council decided to take a step back announcing the cost to park at the Muni Lot for Cleveland Browns games will not go up as high as initially thought.
The ordinance covers a fair amount of parking changes including extending hours for downtown parking meters, increasing the hourly and daily rate at the Willard Park Garage along with the daily rate at the Canal Basin Lot in the Flats.
However, it is the Muni Lot cost that raised the most eyebrows, especially given the parking area’s significance to Browns home games. Following more negotiations, City Council President Blaine Griffin said the city will now only be raising the rate from $30 per parking space to $40.
“We did not want to price out families who are wanting to tailgate and have a good time, so we lowered the rate,” Griffin said in a statement to WKYC.
According to Griffin, he and other legislators wanted the price to be comparable to other cities in the AFC North Division, such as $70 for Cincinnati Bengals games and $50 for Pittsburgh Steelers games. While Griffin said $50 a space is still a possibility, he stressed that officials “should not charge tailgaters an enormous fee so the city can make money.”
Already, longtime Browns tailgaters are feeling the effects of high prices. Robin Lockner — president of the Cleveland Browns’ women’s group — usually takes her specialized bus to games but said she had to pay $200 to park in the Flats before the season opener earlier this month. She and her family enjoy going to see the Browns together – the orange and white bus takes up three parking spots on its own. For Lockner, the changes to the Muni Lot prices could have an even bigger impact than most.
“Now that prices are skyrocketing, we’re kind of on a limb as to what we’re going to do exactly,” Lockner said. “I’m not sure if they’re trying to eliminate tailgating in Cleveland or what, because its kind of driving the people away.
The new legislation will officially take effect 10 days after Mayor Justin Bibb signs it into law.
Watch WKYC’s full story here.