MIDLAND, TX (KWES) - Midland police have a new officer and his job is to crack down on parking downtown. The city of Midland said they're not only losing money, but business owners are also struggling because many are parking longer than they're allowed to.
Downtown parking is something that's going to get a little easier.
"It's been an issue for a while," said Cristina Odenborg, Downtown Development Coordinator for the City of Midland. "I know we've gotten a lot of local business and property owners complaining about people parking on street parking for the entire day which doesn't allow for local businesses such as restaurants or even little shops that we have down here to provide parking for their customers."
A new parking enforcement officer is going to hand out $20 citations to those taking advantage of the convenient 2-hour street parking. If you take longer than 10 days to pay, your fee doubles.
"We just need something to be done about turnover in downtown," said Natalie Shelton, Executive Director of Downtown Midland Management District (DMMD). "A lot of employees park on the street and take up a lot of the spaces. We've had an influx of new restaurants in downtown and we've had some retail spaces that we need to be able to provide parking for their customers."
The project is funded by DMMD. Everything from the officer's annual salary, a vehicle and equipment. It's something DMMD is locked in to do for at least five years.
The city hopes this will help the local economy by attracting not only shoppers but business owners as well.
"I think people would be more interested knowing they have that parking turnover that they need to thrive as a retail business," said Odenborg. "Whether that's a boutique, shop or another restaurant downtown."
The officer's duties also include helping downtown goers find public parking, give directions and find the latest attractions Midlanders are looking for.
The City of Midland tells us there is a short grace period where warnings will be handed out, citations will be given after that period is over.