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Springfield Cardinals balk at parking fee hike

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Parking at Hammons Field for a Springfield Cardinals game is getting more expensive.

The minor league organization announced last week the owner and manager of a lot and parking garage south of the stadium increased parking fees to $20, effective July 12. That’s the second increase this year.

The Cardinals and its fans are not happy.

“It’s been our No. 1 complaint, especially for those who are disabled and can’t walk as far,” said Dan Reiter, vice president and general manager of the Springfield Cardinals. “I feel like that’s the group this has been most unfortunate for.”

The Springfield Cardinals posted on Facebook about the pricing change, saying the team was “never given the courtesy of being notified of this unfortunate news.”

The surface parking lot, which holds 470 cars, is located south of the stadium between Trafficway and St. Louis streets. The parking garage, located near the Springfield Expo Center, holds 971 cars. The lots are managed by Plaza Realty and Management Services LLC and owned by JD Holdings LLC, according to Cardinals officials.

In 2018, JD Holdings took control of late hotelier John Q. Hammons’ assets for roughly $1 billion through bankruptcy proceedings, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting. Hammons developed the Cardinals field that continues to carry his name and helped bring the minor league team to Springfield.

John Schulte, president of Plaza Realty & Management Services, declined to comment, and officials with JD Holdings did not respond to requests for comment by deadline.

This isn’t the first time parking fees have been increased for the two lots. In July 2018, parking was $7, Reiter said, and it was raised to $10 in August 2018. This April, the parking fee jumped to $14 on opening day, he said.

The Springfield Cardinals organization does not own or manage any parking lots, Reiter said, noting the organization is exploring all of its options moving forward. He’s also looking into running a shuttle service for fans from remote areas.

Other nearby parking options include free parking at Ozarks Technical Community College, $10 parking at a nearby Price Cutter store — which goes toward local charities — and $5 parking at Jordan Valley Ice Park. The Springfield Cardinals also partnered this year with CarGo, a ride-sharing service, on discounted transportation to Hammons Field.

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