By Rebecca Flannery
On game days, choosing to pay for parking downtown can help one of the many charities or businesses in the area.
Several lots in downtown Waco are available for free parking on Baylor football game days. However, some lots belonging to businesses and nonprofits are open to use for a price that benefits the organization.
The Historic Waco Foundation has lots by the Earle-Napier-Kinnard House on Fourth Street and the McCulloch House on Columbus Avenue. Both lots are available for reserved parking for $20 per game.
“We’ve had excellent results,” said Sue Pescaia, secretary of the foundation. “We give people a secure lot to park their cars and a peace of mind that their car is being watched during the game.”
According to their website, The Historic Waco Foundation owns, curates, preserves and exhibits over 6,000 pieces of decorative art, artifacts, archival material and textiles. It’s for these services the foundation is raising money through the parking system, Pescaia said.
While the shuttle service provided by the Waco Transit System doesn’t run directly in front of the houses, Pescaia said McLane Stadium is less than a mile away, and downtown Waco is six blocks away.
The Dr Pepper Museum, located on Fifth Street, is also utilizing its spaces for the benefit of the community, said Joy Summar-Smith, associate director of the museum.
“Donations aren’t mandatory, but appreciated to benefit the museum,” Summar-Smith said. “While we have the Dr Pepper name, we are operating as a nonprofit.”
Other organizations benefitted from paid parking include several churches, such as First Baptist Church of Waco and Calvary Chapel.
Jamie McCallum, a representative from First Baptist, said the shuttle service is three blocks away from their lot.
“It’s $10 per spot per game,” McCallum said. “The money is going to benefit several ministries in the church such as missions and our youth group.”
The Phoenix Ballroom shares a parking lot with Calvary Chapel and offers spaces on their behalf. Leslie Henry, a representative from the venue, said they won’t be able to offer parking on days they have an event planned.
“We haven’t yet sold out the parking lot,” Henry said. “But the money raised goes toward Calvary’s youth program.”
Megan Henderson, director of the Downtown Development Corp., said paid parking benefiting downtown is an image of members of the community helping each other.
“Downtown is about relationships,” Henderson said. “When everyone gets together to help out, that’s what downtown is all about.”
At the time of publication, none of the paid parking lots have sold out for the season. Contact information for each lot is found on their websites.