The next time you want to park downtown after 6 p.m. for an event, you might have to pony up $5 to park. Right now, you can park at a meter rates for a dollar an hour, and park for free on Sundays. Free parking is available on Saturdays in the shopping district, which does not fall under the proposed event pricing area.

At their regular meeting on Tuesday, El Paso City Council will be talking about upping that to a flat $5 parking meter fee during certain downtown events. The last time parking fees were raised was in 2014.

Event pricing would be in place for baseball games, concerts, festivals and other events that draw thousands Downtown. There are roughly events held downtown during the year, so that could translate to a lot of money.
The 700 meters in the area bounded by Wyoming, Paisano, Campbell and San Antonio streets would be affected. The $5 fee is about half the usual $10 parking fee at many garages in downtown El Paso.

Revenue from parking meters citywide is used to cover the Plaza Theatre debt, and any leftover revenue is put into the city’s general fund.

The event pricing at parking meters could mean roughly $246,000 a year if the meters were used at 70 percent capacity. The city's contract with MountainStar Sports Group dictates that the City and MountainStar share in revenues from the city-owned parking garages but not specifically from parking meters.

We have been very spoiled with free times on parking meters downtown for years. Other big cities charge a premium for parking all the time. Five bucks to park for an event is just another cost of enjoying an event, but it should be capped at five dollars.