Valet parking could soon be mixed with the free parking that has long distinguished downtown Franklin.
It's a proposal that's being floated by merchants who are part of the Downtown Franklin Association.
“We are looking at four spaces in front of the new Gray's Restaurant that would turn into valet,” said Nancy Williams, who runs the merchant group. “We can't build a parking garage in a year, so this is just one that we can take right now.”
The valet plan is not specific yet, but one idea would be for Gray's diners to use the valet spaces during peak weekend hours from 6 P.M. to 10 P.M. on Friday and Saturday nights. The parking itself would be free but would not include tip.
Williams says the plan would not prohibit the public from parking in the valet spots, but those not going to Grays would have to pay $3 when the valet program is in service during those peak weekend hours.
“It's about an option of convenience,” Williams told Nashville's News 2. “The new restaurant will have 200 spaces and a lot of its patrons may not want to walk the block or two for the free parking.”
The spots would remain free during the hours when the valet program is not being used.
The idea seems to have little opposition, even from other downtown restaurants who were asked if it seems to give the new restaurant a parking advantage.
“No not really,” said one restaurant worker at an establishment just a block away. “Most of the restaurants have either a free parking garage across the street or parking behind it.”
Despite opposition from nearby restaurants, tourists Nashville's News 2 spoke with had mixed feelings about valet parking.
“I say it's worth it when I come to a town like this because I want to be in a hurry. Get out of my car and go shopping,” Franklin visitor Bobbie Button Jackson said.
However tourist Teresa Ferguson said she did not want to have to pay for valet parking “unless it was raining.”