Free parking stays in downtown Conway as leaders approve nearly $80M budget

Published: Jun. 7, 2023 at 12:02 PM EDT
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CONWAY, S.C. (WMBF) - Conway City Council approved its nearly $80 million budget earlier this week, but did not include a controversial plan to add parking meters downtown.

City leaders discussed reinstating paid parking at its budget retreat in March after receiving complaints from some residents. City spokesperson June Wood said they decided against adding meters into this year’s budget, and they are now exploring other options to enforce the current free two-hour parking.

Russell Fowler, a clothing consultant at the Haberdashery, said he breathed a sigh of relief after hearing the news.

“From talking to customers during that short period of time when there we knew it was possible...we had a lot of kickback from customers,” he said. “They said we don’t have to come to Conway and there are other places we can go where we don’t have to pay to park. So when we found out it wasn’t going to happen, we were elated.”

While you will not have to fork out extra change for parking meters, the new budget does include a raise in fees for both tax millage and stormwater utilities.

The city will also hire 24 new full-time employees and one part-time employee to help continue providing services for the growing city.

Also included in the budget is a salary increase for first responders, with police officers seeing a starting salary of $40,000 and firemen a little more than $37,000.

In addition, the budget includes upgrades to downtown sidewalks and sets aside $500,000 to expand the Conway Riverwalk to 4th Avenue.

Quentin Lowery, a resident of the city, says the Riverwalk extension is something he can’t wait to enjoy.

“I think it would be a good opportunity for people to explore more and maybe even open some more fishing areas for people that like to fish,” said Lowery.

The budget goes into effect July 1.

Stay with WMBF News for updates.