Councilman’s Plan to End Fresno’s $5 Park Entry Fee Failed. Here’s Why.
Visitors to places like Storyland/Playland, the Fresno Chaffee Zoo, and Woodward Park will continue paying a $5 entry fee for vehicles.
More actually, since the kiosks only accept credit cards which charge an additional fee.
Councilman Miguel Arias wanted to eliminate those fees, calling it a “double tax” since city residents paid extra because of Measure P.
Even though the City Council approved the fee removal in a preliminary vote during the budget process, free parking never came to be.
It never made it to the final budget vote.
Arias Supported Free Parking
During budget hearings in June, Arias proposed waiving parking fees at the city’s regional parks — Roeding Park, Woodward Park, and the Regional Sports Complex — for two years, and backfilling with Measure P funds.
Arias told GV Wire that it would be unfair to charge when improvements are not there.
Parking kiosks were installed at the parks in 2021. They replaced staffed tollbooths at park entryways.
“What the administration brought to our attention was that the contract that the city had signed two years prior will require us to pay off all the hard equipment from vendor if we were to go away from the vendor,” Arias said.
In lieu of eliminating the parking fee, some of that money would be put into park programs, Arias said.
Arias says the three regional parks take in $1.7 million in parking fees a year.
City, Arias Still Working on Plan
The city says a change in fees is still in play.
“As part of the fee analysis PARCS (parks department) is working on, we are looking at the ability to lower parking and other fees for city of Fresno residents that could be offset with Measure P revenue,” Mayor Jerry Dyer spokeswoman Sontaya Rose said.
Arias is proposing an alternate idea, agreeing that a parking fee levels the playing field for in-city residents and visitors.
“The regional parks (fee) provide us a way to charge … out of city residents for the cost of providing the regional amenities — they have to pay for parking. I think we have to come forward with a city of Fresno discount because they are already paying for Measure P,” Arias said.