Beaufort is again offering an incentive for visitors to do their holiday shopping downtown.
The city will offer free parking during the holiday season, a tradition that has been tweaked in recent years. Visitors can park for free all day at the Downtown Beaufort Marina lot off Bay Street from Thanksgiving through the New Year.
All other metered areas in the city will remain the same cost. The free marina parking started last year and received positive reviews, business owners said Tuesday.
“They liked it because of the turnover,” downtown operations and community services director Linda Roper told City Council members. “The patrons they liked that they could park all day and not worry about running back to the meter.”
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The city had previously offered free two-hour parking at downtown meters on Bay Street and nearby side streets during the holiday season. City officials said the marina option helps eliminate confusion for visitors and keeps employees from squatting on prime parking spots.
Shoppers will still have to feed the meters along Bay Street and elsewhere downtown from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
The same free parking initiative is already planned for 2019 so that the city can market it sooner, Roper said.
Beaufort’s annual holiday weekend is Dec. 7-9 and will include a tree lighting, boat parade and annual Christmas parade.