LIBERTY TOWNSHIP, Ohio -- When you plug the parking meters at Liberty Center just smile and find some solace in the fact that at least part of what you shell out will be going to a good cause.
Liberty Center, whose primary developers are Steiner + Associates, headquartered in Columbus, and Chicago-based Bucksbaum Retail Properties, has created the Liberty Foundation, which plans to share the proceeds from the meters with a variety of nonprofits.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Butler and Warren counties will be the beneficiaries of the foundation for 2015. When you pay for parking now, the high-tech meters that take coins or credit cards flash a “Thank You” from Big Brothers and Big Sisters.
The sprawling, 100-acre Liberty Center shopping, dining, office and residential complex is designed to look like a thriving village square somewhere in Middle America. The parking meter is a feature that’s consistent with what many downtowns have today and had decades ago.
The Price of Convenience
“I’ve had people call and ask, ‘What’s going on with these meters?'” said Liberty Township Trustee Christine Matacic. “We don’t see meters in Liberty Township very often. It’s kind of an anomaly.”
“If you want to be (parked) right next to the store, I guess there’s a premium that you have to pay,” Matacic said.
Paying for the metered convenience at 160 spots on 10 streets is optional. Liberty Center also has nearly 2,000 free parking spaces in three garages and hundreds of additional free parking spots in surface lots that surround scores of shops, restaurants, bars and apartments just north of Liberty Way and west of I-75 in Liberty Township.
However, additional meters will be installed along Taylor Street at the west end of the development, according to township officials. Valet parking also is available for $5 on Foundry Row between Sloan Way and Gibson Street.
The meters charge $1.50 per hour and the minimum credit card fee to park is the same amount. There’s a 90-minute limit on the meters.
More Nonprofits Will Share
Nonprofits that hope to be recipients of foundation funds next year have to submit their applications by the end of this year through an online process that is spelled out on the Liberty Center website. Six nonprofits will be selected to split the proceeds with the foundation for two-month periods in 2016, according to the Liberty Center website.
The website also said that the organizations will receive some promotional help through signage and the Liberty Center website.
Jackie Reau of Game Day Communications, which is handling publicity for Liberty Center, declined to say what percentage of the parking revenue would be donated to the non-profits. Nor was information available about whether money collected through $7 parking tickets would be part of the pool of money that would be split with the nonprofits.
Reau said the developers believe it is premature to talk about the foundation’s plans and that they intend to release information once they know how much they will be donating to Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Creating the foundation with plans to help nonprofits is a first-of-its-kind effort for the developers, the spokeswoman said.