Parking for events in Ballard Park — including free summer CHIRP concerts on Tuesday and Thursday nights — will follow a simple plan.
“They can park anywhere in front of CVS. The rest of the lot is exclusive for customers,” said Parking Authority Chairwoman Jessica Wilmot.
That means there’ll be parking for “customers only” in several areas that adjoin the CVS lot — including the Addessi property lot behind Prime Burger and the Toy Chest, the Amatuzzi lot by the ice machine and the Village Deli, the area in front of the liquor store and around past the back of the firehouse and the front of the Ancient Mariner, to the back of the post office.
All that is off-limits to concert-goers, with parking only for customers of the businesses. There is also no concert or event parking in the small area along the north side of CVS near the playground.
There will be a drop-off area by the side entrance to the park, so that once the spaces directly in front of CVS are filled, passengers may be dropped off while drivers park farther away — in the Bailey Avenue lot or off Governor Street. Wilmot said that Yankee Ridge lot is private, and the library’s lot — shared with the Prospector — is also off limits to event parkers.
Parking information is available on the Economic and Community Development Commission website — Ridgefielddevelopment.com.
The new plan approved by the Parking Authority offers concert-goers more nearby options — last year there was no concert parking in any of the CVS shopping center lot, Wilmot said.
The rules apply not only to concert nights but also to other events in Ballard Park.
“If anyone rents the park for an event, it’s in their contract to follow these parking guidelines and to pay for the manpower to enforce it,” Wilmost said.
On concert nights, the two town parking enforcement officers, James Beckman and Katie Knoche, will be working. The plan was developed to try to reach an accommodation between concert-goers and the businesses in the vicinity that are open and need some nearby areas for customer parking.
While many businesses in the village are closed by 7 p.m., the lot next to the park serves CVS, several restaurants and the liquor store.
“Before we started implementing any plan over there, by 6:30 there wasn’t one spot in the whole lot Tuesday and Thursday nights,” said Wilmot, who owns The Ancient Mariner, one of the affected businesses.
This is the third year the Parking Authority has been trying to reserve some parking in the lot for businesses.
“For the most part, people have been agreeable,” Wilmot said.
Some people park at St. Mary’s, and in town parking lots off Governor Street and Bailey Avenue, and make the short walk on a nice evening.
“I don’t think it’s affecting the attendance at the CHIRP concerts at all,” Wilmot said. “I think everybody just finds a place and goes because it’s a great summer event.”