State College, PA - Centre County - Central Pennsylvania - Home of Penn State University

Free 2-Hour Parking to Continue in Downtown State College

by on October 07, 2020 7:55 PM

Free two-hour parking in downtown State College will continue for the foreseeable future.

A multi-part memorandum of understanding with the Downtown State College Improvement District authorized by State College Borough Council on Monday night continues the free parking at street meters and provides discounts to employees of downtown businesses for parking permits.

"The borough has outlined a partnership with the Downtown State College Improvement District to promote economic recovery and assist downtown businesses in their operations [during the COVID-19 pandemic]," Borough Manager Tom Fountaine said. "The purpose of the partnership is to reduce the cost of employee parking and to promote free convenient parking for customers and visitors of Downtown State College as we continue to recover."

Street parking has been free since the onset of the pandemic and the two-hour time limit was instituted in the summer to ensure turnover so that more spaces are available for patrons of downtown businesses.

While normal parking operations were initially scheduled to resume in August, the free parking remained in place as a result of ongoing discussions with downtown business owners and the DSCID, said Douglas Shontz, assistant to the borough manager.

Shontz said that part of the agreement could change based on parking demand in the future, but if so it would require advance notice and action by council.

For the discounted permits, a business that wishes to participate would provide the employee's name, permit number and address to DSCID for reimbursement. The borough parking department will issue  check on a monthly basis for all parkers that have signed up for the reimbursement to the DSCID who would in turn distribute to businesses. Each eligible permit will receive a credit of $45. 

Permits must be active for the entire previous month to receive reimbursement and may not be used to park overnight in borough facilities. Permits may be revoked if used by another party or for non-business purposes.

Borough Councilwoman Theresa Lafer said she has long heard from employees at businesses that it is expensive to work downtown and the permit discount is one way to make it a little easier.


"We may not always be able to get them less expensive housing but we can cut down on the cost of coming in and traveling out," she said "While I’m sorry that COVID led to this, I’m hoping we can in some form keep this throughout so that we do have convenient and less expensive parking for those who work so hard in our community."

The MOU also states that there will be no charge for parking permits for the month of December and parking will become free in garages and lots after the end of Penn State's semester.

The parking department will not invoice businesses that participate in the Merchant Validation Program for their portion of the parking cost of patrons. DSCID will still contribute its portion of the parking cost.

"Downtowns have been severely impacted by the pandemic and probably none more than college and university towns like ours," DSCID Executive Director Rob Schmidt said. "We also know borough parking revenue is operating at a severe deficit so we truly appreciate your generous support of the downtown businesses and the employees who are working hard to keep our businesses going."


Geoff Rushton is managing editor for Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
Next Article
Centre Foundation Awards $158,500 to Local Nonprofits in Second Round of Grants from COVID-19 Action Fund
October 07, 2020 3:32 PM
by Geoff Rushton
Centre Foundation Awards $158,500 to Local Nonprofits in Second Round of Grants from COVID-19 Action Fund
Disclaimer: Copyright © 2020 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

order food online