Thursday, October 16, 2008
The other day I read where Mayor Mallory was asking Cincinnatians to keep supporting the Bengals. Is this the state of professional football in Cincinnati that we have the mayor pleading with citizens not to give up? The Bengals organization is the beneficiary of a one-half percent sales tax passed in 1996 to build their stadium. Seems like a lot of support to me.
But what got me thinking about all of this was when I took the picture of Union Terminal during my sojourn on Monday. There is no cheap parking downtown (I know, this isn’t a news flash to those who work downtown). Even on a holiday, parking fees are ridiculous and whenever a sports event is going on prices rise to exorbitant. I do not begrudge the owners of parking garages and lots to make a profit but these prices are one more disincentive for visitors.
Instead of pleading for fans to bear witness to a team going from 0-6 to 0-7, perhaps working on some type of plan for reducing parking fees would be more productive. For example, in Columbus the parking at City Center used to be $1 for three hours (I’m not sure if this is still the case). The low parking fee encouraged people going to the state government to park in City Center. The increased traffic helped business (although ultimately the increased traffic could not overcome other economic factors).
The Bengals aren’t going to present much incentive for visitors this year. Even if they had a better season, they play roughly 8 home games? Incentives need to be longer than a football or baseball season. The city could help broker something so that the proprietors of the parking lots could still make profit yet visitors to the downtown would find it affordable.