Deal Means Free Parking For Patrons At 2 City Garages
WILKES-BARRE — There will be free parking and shorter exit times for movie patrons and others exiting two city garages after 3 p.m. next week.
The week between Christmas and New Year’s is typically the busiest time of year for theaters, and Regal Cinemas patrons have had long waits to exit the parking garages near Movies 14 after their movie let out in past years.
Although movie patrons can park at the intermodal and Park and Lock Central garages for up to three hours for free, they still have to show a validated parking ticket to an attendant and share the exit with non-movie patrons who have to pay the attendant.
This Christmas week, the South Washington Street exit gates for those garages will be open after 3 p.m. on Dec. 26-28, with no attendant checking tickets.
Regal officials had asked the authority board for a solution to the exit-wait problem, suggesting that LAZ, the company that manages the authority’s lot and garages, schedule a second parking attendant for Dec. 26-28 to better handle the huge crowds.
Matt Price, LAZ facilities manager, told the authority board at a meeting on Tuesday that scheduling a second attendant wouldn’t be feasible because there is only one cash register installed at the South Franklin Street exit.
Instead, Price said, he proposed keeping the exit gates open after 3 p.m. for the three days and having Regal pay the authority the projected $1,500 in revenue it would lose from movie patrons who parked longer than three hours and from non-movie patrons.
Price said theater officials balked at that proposal, so the board agreed to let him make a final offer to Regal — pay half the authority’s projected lost revenue.
Price said later Tuesday that theater officials agreed to the compromise.
The exit gates for the garages also will be open all day on Dec. 25, 29 and 30, as parking there is normally free on Saturdays, Sundays and major holidays.
In other business, board chairman Paul Maher signed a sales agreement authorizing the transfer of ownership of the Park & Lock Central Garage from the city to the authority. The authority will pay the city $1.55 million for the garage. City council approved the offer two weeks ago, and Mayor Tony George recently sent the authority a signed agreement.
Now, the authority is waiting on Fidelity Bank in Dunmore to approve financing, authority Executive Director Tom Torbik said.
Torbik said he feels confident that the bank will approve the loan at a favorable rate. He expects the sale to close sometime in 2019.
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