City to charge for parking at Memorial Park by end of summer

- Getting motivated to work out is about to get a lot harder at Memorial Park. The city will soon charge for parking at roughly a quarter of Memorial Park's total parking spots. 

Park-goers will be charged $1 every three hours at 572 metered spots near the golf course, tennis courts, fitness and swimming centers, as well as the new, Eastern Glades. 

Failing to pay for parking at the meters, could also result in a fine. 

Houston City Council Member at-Large 1 Mike Knox said he doesn't think that only some park-goers should bear the burden of paying.

"I think that's a little bit unfair but we can work on that in the future. And I will continue to press on that issue so it's either all or nothing-- all paid parking or no paid parking," Knox said. 

Knox said the city estimates paid parking could raise around $200,000 a year to help with maintenance costs. 

It's all part of a $70 million donation from The Kinder Foundation that was approved by City Council in 2018. The money would go directly back to beautifying the Memorial Park-- improving the running and biking trails, and constructing bridges to connect existing trails. 

However, part of the deal was that the City of Houston and the Memorial Park Conservancy must cover all the maintenance costs. 

Some park-goers are not happy and said they'll just find somewhere else to run-- for free. 

"You will never see my face here again. I'm dead serious," Andrew Thomas said. 

"I've been training for marathons, half-marathons and a number of others races here for years. We bring our kids here and our dogs, and we have been for like 30 years. I mean, as frequently as we come here, I've never had to pay for parking. Ever!" Joanne Thomas said. 

Knox said the parking meters will be installed sometime at the end of the summer. No exact date has been scheduled.

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