Fort Smith Board to limit use of two city-owned downtown parking lots

by Tina Alvey Dale ([email protected]) 1,716 views 

The Fort Smith Board of Directors passed an ordinance at its regular meeting Tuesday (Feb. 21) that gives the city the ability to close the Blue Lion Downtown parking lot on North B Street and North Second Street from midnight to 6 a.m.

According to a memo by Assistant City Administrator Jeff Dingman, the Blue Lion is getting used more often, both during the day for staff training events and meetings, and during the evenings for board meetings and other public meetings. The Pavilion is available for event rentals during the day and evenings.

“The City has prominently placed signage at both entrances to the parking lot explaining the regulations in (the Fort Smith Municipal Code) Sec. 24-109 intending to point out to non-attendees or overnight parkers that they shouldn’t park there, but currently they aren’t technically in violation,” the memo states.

Dingman said the parking lot often fills during the day and in evenings around public meeting times by residents of the townhomes located across N. Second Street and by employees of Twin Rivers, across N. B Street from the Blue Lion.

“Often there is very little parking available in the lot available to staff/public that attend board meetings or other events. The city has asked the business to relay to their staff that they shouldn’t park in the city lot,” Dingman said.

The new ordinance states that except for city-owned vehicles and parking authorized in writing by the city administrator, parking is restricted to vehicles of persons attending events being held at the Blue Lion or at the Riverfront Pavilion. Also no parking is permitted from midnight to 6 a.m. on any day. Violators will be subject to citation with a $25 fine, and their vehicles can be towed.

Signs stating the new regulations will be posted in the parking lot, Dingman said. Fort Smith Police will be responsible for enforcing the new ordinance.

Director Neal Martin asked that the city send notice to the manager of the townhomes on North Second Street, so residents will be aware of the change in the ordinance and the potential for cars illegally parked to be towed.