AN INCENTIVE to lure shoppers into the city through discounted car parking is already proving successful, traders have told City Hall.
‘Freepark Limerick’ is a trial initiative which aims to bring more shoppers into the city centre.
When customers spend a set amount in participating shops, hotels, restaurants and businesses, they will be rewarded with parking vouchers, based on a minimum spend in that outlet.
Depending on the amount spent, customers may park in participating city centre car parks for free.
“Business in Limerick, like any other city, is difficult. This is one of the short-term practical initiatives we’re putting forward. The idea is to get more people into the city,” said Helen O’Donnell, who runs the restaurant in the Hunt Museum, and is a representative of the Limerick City Business Association.
“This is a way of saying ‘thank you’ to our customers,” she added.
She said while the amount of car parking spaces available in the city is not an issue, the cost of parking can put off some customers from coming into the city, especially as it is free in major suburban shopping complexes.
There are 11 car parks participating in the initiative, as well as 43 businesses.
“If you see the logo on the door [of a business], with a minimum spend, you are entitled to a voucher. For example the minimum spend in the Hunt Museum is €25 and it’s €100 in Brown Thomas,” she said.
Tony Connolly, of Connolly’s Menswear on Patrick Street, said the reaction from customers already has been “tremendous”, but there is a need to make more people aware of it.
Former mayor, Fine Gael councillor Maria Byrne, said that this is a “very positive” initiative, adding “it’s great for traders to give something back.”
Mayor of Limerick, Fine Gael councillor Jim Long, said “this is something the city needs.”