ST. CLOUD (WJON News) -- The St. Cloud City Council got an update on parking downtown during their work study session Monday night.

Public Service Director Tracy Hodel says the occupancy rate in the five city-owned ramps is at 14 percent for the year. That compares to 57 percent back in 2018.

Total revenue for all parking spots downtown is at $875,000 so far this year through October. That compares to $740,000 last year, $669,000 in 2020, and $1.5 million in 2019 prior to the pandemic. Hodel says typically in a pre-COVID year revenues were around $2 million, which is the break-even point for the city to maintain the ramps and parking system.

The city has been using federal COVID dollars to make up the difference for the past few years.

While parking for special events has been returning, employee parking downtown has not.

The city has saved about $500,000 annually by eliminating parking attendants and going to an all-automated system.

In 2021 St. Cloud started the first phase of a new parking pilot project, which created four times as many free parking spots on nights and weekends. The Parking Pilot Plus program has been in place since January of this year. Parking is free in all five city ramps after 5:00 p.m. on weekdays and all weekend long, while you have to pay to park on the street.

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The city council also had a brief discussion Monday about the winter parking rules in St. Cloud and ultimately decided not to change anything.

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