Patrons of the Saturday Lexington Farmers Market in downtown Lexington can now park at the Lexington Financial Center parking garage for a discounted rate of $1.
Until earlier this summer, farmers market patrons had been able to park at the garage for free. That arrangement ended, according to Stephanie Wooten, business manager of the farmers market.
A July farmers market newsletter explained why, saying, "For years, Central Parking has kindly allowed the Financial Center Garage to be open and free to all on Saturdays as a courtesy to the Lexington Farmers' Market. However, increasing garage repair and upkeep expenses have made this arrangement infeasible."
Some market patrons missed the notices announcing the change and found themselves surprised to pay $5 for parking at the garage, Wooten said.
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For the last two weeks, patrons have been able to get a sticker at the Farmers Market that gave them a discount and allowed them to pay $1 rather than $5 for parking.
That is part of an agreement between the market and Central Parking. The market does not pay to subsidize the parking, Wooten said.
Beginning this Saturday, those stickers will be available from all farmers at the market, rather than just at the main information booth, said Wooten.
Central Parking, which runs many Lexington parking venues, is part of Chicago-based Standard Parking. Andrew Barlow, a regional manager for Central Parking, said in an email that the financial center garage was sold by the state of Kentucky in early 2014. The new owner is Big Blue Parking of Lexington.
Big Blue Parking is spending $1.2 million on modernizing the structure's elevators, installing brighter energy-efficient lighting, replacing access-control equipment, making concrete repairs and restriping the garage to provide larger spaces, Barlow said.