Easy Park offering the community more than just parking

With the presence of vacant parking spots on Easy Park’s 5th Avenue Parking Garage, the board of directors at Easy Park came up with a plan to better utilize the area. Their idea stems from an international movement called Parking Day where people think of ways of utilizing parking lots and spaces in different ways.

This past June, Easy Park implemented their plan of a basketball court on their 5th Avenue Parking Garage called The Rooftop. The plan included a half-court basketball court, two concrete ping-pong tables, a concrete chess table and benches for people to sit on.

Parking director at Easy Park, Brian Borguno, is excited about the new additions.

“We just wanted people to feel that there are other purposes instead of just parking your car. Parking’s got a stigma with it and parking in a garage has a stigma with it. People perceive garages to be not the most inviting place. It’s just a parking garage. Now it’s a parking garage where you can park and play basketball,” Borguno said.

The court and other facilities are monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week by cameras. A code of conduct is posted along with park hours to ensure all users of the park are being safe. Aside from bar-goers trying to catch some late night hoops, no major incidents occurred this past summer.

The Rooftop, found on the rooftop of the 5th Avenue Parking Garage, currently provides recreation like basketball, ping pong, and chess. Photo credit: Jay Guzman

The Rooftop has been received very well by the community. On any given day, you can see various types of people on the court having fun. Kids can be seen playing basketball and workers in the area can be seen getting some exercise in between their breaks. Yoga groups even hold meetings there.

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“It’s nice to get a break from work and have a place to relax and shoot some hoops,” Jordan Tennant, a downtown Anchorage employee, said.

Along with their rooftop program, Easy Park also implemented their Downtown Employee Parking Program. In the past, workers in downtown Anchorage had to pay monthly parking in full, which can be very costly. The program offers 70 percent off in garage and lot monthly rates to qualifying employees. In order to qualify, the employee must be a part-time employee or make less than $35,000 a year.

A 3-D rendering of The Rooftop, found on the top floor of the 5th Avenue Parking Garage.

Most recently, Easy Park started their Amenities Program. The program offers ride escorts, tire inflations and jumpstarts to all guests free of charge who park at Easy Park garages or surface lots. Trained parking staff are on duty seven days a week from 5 a.m. to midnight. Requesting these services can easily be done by calling their dispatch number at 907-276-7275.

The rooftop idea has brought forth a lot of new ideas of how Easy Park can better utilize some of their lots and garages. Possible ideas Easy Park has for the future include ice rinks and outdoor movie theaters. Easy Park has been working with engineers, the Anchorage Museum and members of the community to come up with ways these ideas can become a reality.