Ferndale council votes to double city parking rates

You will spend more time looking for a place to park in Ferndale - and come April you'll pay more for it.

The city council voted to double the parking rate from .50 cents to $1 an hour to pay for a new $20 million parking structure and mixed used development called The Dot.

"This is what I think is a relatively modest increase is going to pay for the deck which we desperately need in Ferndale," said Mayor Dan Coulter. "We have a parking shortage. Everybody acknowledges that."

And it's worse now.

The Dot and its 400 parking spaces will open in spring of 2020. It is being built on a 128-space parking lot at Troy and Allen - the heart of downtown Ferndale.

"It's going to be difficult for a while for sure," said Beth Dybowski. "Basically I'm paying just to park and I'm spending more money just to get to work."

The city's parking rate hike comes with longer enforcement hours. Businesses like Bobcat Bonnie's are hoping it won't keep customers away.

"We're really hoping we're going to be able to push through, I think," said Eddie Mitchell with Bobcat Bonnie's. "We got a pretty loyal customer base that's going to come out no matter what.

"Another necessary evil. It's just like any of the road construction projects and stuff like that, it's a short-term headache for long-term relief is what they say."

City leaders say the rate hike will save taxpayers a headache. It'll keep them from footing the million-dollar a year bond note. 

That however is not sitting well with some who see Ferndale has a destination spot.

"It should be a shared structure for payment, not just have it on the people who come here and pay for parking," said Cindy Kent. "I think it should be the people who live here as well as the employers who own these buildings and places.  They are gaining and benefitting as well."