Would you use valet parking if offered at Civic Center?

mowen@ledger-enquirer.comJanuary 8, 2013 

Depending on whether you’re going to the Civic Center to see Disney on Ice or the new monster truck “Smashosaurus,” you might not have to park your own car.

Ross Horner, director of the Civic Center, will ask Columbus Council this morning to allow the facility to enter into a contract to provide valet parking. The contract with Quality Parking and Valet Management would provide additional income for the Civic Center while requiring no cost or liability to the city, Horner said.

The company, which already provides the service at the RiverCenter and the Columbus Convention & Trade Center, would charge $10 per car, of which $2 would go to the Civic Center. While it would be a revenue stream, Horner doesn’t expect it to be a major one.

“I’m not looking to pay my utilities with it, sad to say,” he laughed. “It’s really more of an amenity for our customers.” Horner has worked at several facilities, including those in San Antonio, Texas, and Bismark, N.D., in his 20-plus-year career. He said this would be the first he has worked at to offer valet parking. Some large venues do offer it, but he said it would be a rarity at this level.

The service would be offered only at select events, Horner said, and the decision will be the city’s.

“The demand will drive it,” Horner said. “We’ll be the ones to hear from people whether they want it or not.

“For example, if you’re a single parent going to Disney Live, it’s not a bad thing to pay the extra $10 to know that your car’s going to be waiting on you.”

On events, such as Disney Live, Disney on Ice and the Ringling Brothers circus, at which a parking fee is charged, that fee would be waived for valet parking, Horner said.

Horner said it could be used by Civic Center tenants, such as the Cottonmouths, as a bonus or enticement for season ticket holders. “They’re always looking for those little add-ons,” he said. “But for us it really is just amenity-driven.”

The valet service would have access to a block of spaces in section D, which is on the east side of the building, so the prime spaces directly in front of the building would not be blocked off from general use, Horner said.

According to the contract being proposed to councilors today, QPM will be responsible for its own employees, who must be at least 18 years old. The company will also be required to indemnify the city from legal liability created by its actions and must carry $2 million in liability insurance.

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