NORTHPORT, Ala. (WIAT) — A downtown store owner and the city of Northport are in a dispute over a parking lot.
Merchant Crystal Buck owns Everlasting Boutique on Main Avenue and wants the city to pay her to rent her parking lot for public access. City Councilwoman Jamie Dykes says the issue is causing problems and impacting parking on Main Avenue.
“This is an attack on the city as a whole and our administration. It is very disheartening with the parking lot owner coming to us, wanting us to pay for the parking lot situation,” Dykes said. “She did not ask for a tax deduction or incentives. She wants us to pay for her parking lot downtown and the city was not able to enter into a lease agreement.”
Dykes says Buck wanted a three-year lease agreement with the city for more than $55,000. The lot, located across the street from City Cafe, features 31 parking spaces and is now closed to the public, as the city will not pay the lease.
“Well there’s a loss of 30 to 40 parking spots and I am sure the business owners are feeling that,” Dykes said. “And if I were them, I would be feeling very upset that they are taking the parking lot away.”
CBS 42 spoke to several shoppers downtown Thursday like James Maddox, who is puzzled as to why Buck decided to shut the lot where so many people park so they can shop or eat lunch.
“To now start trying to charge for parking or get the city to pay for the private owned parking lot is kind of ridiculous,” Maddox said. “They do lots of business down here and everyone knows how crowded it is and hard it is to park so for someone to demand this is ridiculous.”
Northport resident Lin Hendrix agrees with Maddox.
“I think it’s disrespectful to shut it down and hold it hostage and not let people park there,” Hendrix said. “Its not hurting anything and we park there all the time.”
CBS 42 reached out to Crystal Buck, but she said her attorney advised her not to comment.