Mystic Arts Center has announced that it will offer five free hours of parking to visitors of its parking lot, possibly for the next 5 weeks, according to a lease agreement with Groton Town Council. The agreement was approved by the Groton Town Council last Tuesday evening, and the free parking began late last week.
The Groton Town Council approached MAC about leasing the lot in response to merchants’ concerns about losing business during the ongoing construction of the Downtown Mystic Streetscape project.
Payments to MAC will be based on visitation reports from the parking system, which MAC will provide to the Council weekly. Payments received will go towards expenses associated with lot, including insurance and maintenance, as well as supporting MAC’s programs for the arts. A percentage of the money will also go to Steamboat Wharf whom owns a portion of the lot.
“The parking lot system is still relatively new and I expect it will create some challenges for us with managing the lot, but MAC is happy to work with the town to help the downtown businesses get through this project,” said MAC Executive Director, Karen Barthelson. “The downtown is certainly going to look great when everything is finished.”
MAC’s current policy gives the first half hour free to all parking lot visitors. Under the terms of the Council’s lease agreement, visitors will receive an additional four and a half hours free. Visitors that stay beyond five hours will be charged the normal rate of $3 for each additional hour with a daily max of $18. While the lot is under lease with the Town, MAC will suspend its parking validation program. The validation program will be reinstated after the lease on the lot is up.
MAC has been working with the Town and downtown businesses to increase visitors’ awareness of downtown parking availability. Last month, MAC placed increased parking signage on Water Street and later this summer MAC will be offering free window decals to businesses that participate in its validation program. Merchants interested in participating can contact Development Manager, Andrea Frickman for details at 860.536.7601 x203.