Grove Panel To Subsidize Discount Valet Service At Commodore Plaza
By Risa Polansky
The Coconut Grove Business Improvement Committee voted Friday to subsidize a valet program on Commodore Plaza, enabling the Miami Parking Authority to offer the service at comparatively low rates.
Valet service can cost up to $20 in areas such as Miami Beach, said David Collins, improvement committee executive director. His committee’s funding — up to $66,000 during a six month trial period to begin by mid-May, — will keep the Grove’s price at $8 a car, he said.
"It easily could have gone over $10" had the committee not voted to dedicate funds from its Parking Waiver Trust, Mr. Collins said. But the group sees the subsidy as "an important commitment to keeping parking affordable and easy in the Grove."
The vote comes in response to a wave of restaurant openings in the area, Mr. Collins said. He said the marked-down parking service will provide convenience to customers of area eateries "so people can enjoy these new restaurants and old restaurants without the hassle of parking. If we can make it easier for business to thrive here, then we’ve done our job."
A valet vendor commissioned by the parking authority is to have stations at both ends of Commodore Plaza between Main Highway and Grand Avenue and will shuttle cars to the Coconut Grove Playhouse lot, where patrons can self-park if they choose.
Metered parking will remain available, as will a parking garage at Oak Avenue and Rice Street.
"There’s plenty of parking in the Grove," Mr. Collins said. "We’re making sure these restaurants don’t push it a little."
The committee plans to further allocate funds from the trust to "become more aggressive in developing a garage in that area of the Grove," he said.
The group is taking its parking cues from the Coral Gables Business Improvement District, which initiated a central valet program in the city’s downtown area.
"In the future, we hope to emulate Coral Gables because they do it right," Mr. Collins said.
Grove businesses are following Gables proprietors’ lead in working toward establishing a formal business improvement district, through which area property owners self-impose taxes to fund area improvement.
The improvement committee expects to have the district running within a year.