NEWBURYPORT — Mayor Donna Holaday has announced that the city is offering free parking in the downtown business district during the holidays.
From today through Christmas Eve Tuesday, there will be no parking fee charged in any of the city’s six paid parking lots. The normal rate is 50 cents per hour.
Holaday, who initiated the holiday on holiday parking, said she sees the value of supporting local businesses.
“I am pleased to offer this paid parking holiday so that residents and visitors can enjoy shopping and dining on our downtown and support our wonderful shops and restaurants during the holiday season.”
Holaday said she is urging cooperation from downtown business owners to l leave these lots open for shoppers and visitors.
She extended appreciation to the Waterfront Trust and the Newburyport Redevelopment Authority, organizations that manage parking lots, for extending this paid parking holiday to all the community’s half-dozen paid lots.
Some downtown businesses have reported this has been challenging holiday season, with sales below expectations. That is due in part to the compressed calendar this year between Thanksgiving — which fell on the latest possible date, Nov. 28 — and bad weather on one of the city’s two Invitation Nights, traditionally a Friday evening event that draws hundreds of shoppers. A dozen businesses banded together to host a third Invitation Night last night, in order to draw more foot traffic and boost sales.