CONWAY — On Friday morning, town employees were seen readying a parking kiosk at Meeting House Road, one of the three popular tourist sites where people from away will be charged a $20 parking fee.
The paid parking program will begin this weekend at First Bridge, Davis Park and the Smith-Eastman Landing on Meeting House Road behind the Conway Police Station. All three sites are popular put-ins for tubing and canoeing.
Conway residents and property owners can park at these sites for free but must obtain a sticker from Conway Town Hall. Conway Parks and Rec Director John Eastman, who is running the program, said about 2,000 town residents have already obtained a parking permit.
Meanwhile, the lot at the Conway Lake beach and boat launch off of Mill St. will be restricted to stickered vehicles only. No visitor parking will be allowed.
Parking enforcement will run this weekend Saturday through Monday, 7 a.m.-4 p.m. The weekend schedule will run to June 20, followed by daily monitoring though Labor Day.
The kiosk at the Smith-Eastman landing (which cost the town $6,000) is located near the beginning of Meeting House Road. Eastman says it is placed there to avoid confusion. The actual parking lot near the water’s edge has a limited capacity of 22 vehicles, while as many as another 100 can be lined up on both sides of the road.
Parking attendants, whom Eastman called “ambassadors,” will be stationed there as well as the other two paid parking locations, which will not have kiosks.
Selectmen last winter decided to start the parking program in response to overcrowding of these sites last summer.
During the pandemic last year, throngs of visitors escaping indoor activities flocked to outdoor destinations and overwhelmed the parking lots.
Town Manager Tom Holmes said Tuesday the program is a “big, big deal,” and the town is ready to fix any bugs that crop up once enforcement begins.