As the neighborhood association for downtown Bellingham, we hear complaints, comments, compliments, conspiracies and congratulations about how things are managed and handled downtown. We are a community of caring, and thank goodness for that. Sometimes, though, the caring is clouded by speculation, which makes it difficult to have a full understanding of how something works. One of those areas, in particular, is parking revenue. So we decided it's time to announce some of the great ways that parking revenue is spent in our community and highlight the good that it does for downtown.
First, let's clarify how parking revenue is generated. Parking tickets and infractions, revenue from parking meters and monthly parking permits, and facility rentals for the Depot Market Square all contribute to parking revenue. That money doesn't just sit there. It's then used to keep our community thriving and inviting. You may be surprised at some of the ways that parking revenue has been used to keep downtown Bellingham fun, original, and beautiful. Check them out:
- Remember the Commercial Street Night Market events last summer? Parking revenue was used to add the festival lighting and electricity in the plaza for the vendors and entertainers, and will help fund the series again this year (mark your calendars for the next one on Friday, March 25!)
- Holiday tree, lights, decorations and ceremony at Depot Market Square
- Additional downtown lighting to keep things festive during the holidays
- Downtown Bellingham Partnership's operations contract (yes, in order to put on events like Downtown Sounds, Wine Walk and Art Walk, we need to exist. Thanks to the City of Bellingham and parking revenue, we are able to make some of downtown's most popular events happen.)
- The Commercial Street Parking Garage upgrades (coming soon!). These include new stairway windows and handrails, lighting, wayfinding signs, new entrance sign, new cameras and camera monitoring service for after hours security
- Commercial Street Parking Garage staff/custodians (two custodial maintenance employees)
- Downtown Bellingham Partnership landscaping contract. This contract covers clean-up and landscaping downtown (such as pick-up and disposal of leaves, weeding, watering and overseeing the activities of Cascade Connections (see next item)
- Cascade Connections cleaning contract. These are the good people who remove graffiti, clean out storm drains, keep benches and light fixtures clean, and many other tasks that help keep our downtown looking good.
- Hanging flower baskets to make downtown Bellingham even prettier during our beautiful summers
What surprises you the most about what parking pays for? Let us know in the comments below.
Today's post was written by Lindsey McGuirk, Project Coordinator.