Celina is looking to potentially bring in a free weekend transportation service downtown that could alleviate parking in the area.

During Tuesday’s Celina City Council meeting, Strategic Services Manager Anthony Satarino said the city is gearing up to publish a request for proposals on March 21 that would seek transportation services using Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEVs). The service, if acquired, would run as a one-year pilot program with the option of extending the service for four years after that.

The service would include transporting visitors and residents to key points in the downtown Celina area, according to a map presented during the meeting. According to the map, the area’s east-west boundary would generally extend from Preston Road to FM 428, and the north-south boundary would generally go from Sunset Boulevard to East

Passengers would use a texting program or app to hail the vehicle.

Satarino said the service would be free to all passengers and paid for by the city.

As Celina looks to enhance its downtown area through special events, Satarino said the service could ramp up during large downtown events.

During regular scheduling, the service would operate from 5-11 p.m. Fridays, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturdays and 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sundays.

“This could help alleviate some of the parking challenges downtown, the idea that you could park once and travel to other destinations downtown without having to find another parking space,” Satarino said.

Councilman Jay Peirce expressed concern about using tax dollars to fund a service that would leave some Celina businesses out since the service would be limited to the downtown area.

Mayor Sean Terry said the service would likely be paid for through the city’s downtown Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone.

“We have a downtown TIRZ specifically for this area,” Terry said. “Once we know the cost, then we can see, can that downtown TIRZ support that just for this area?”

The request for proposals of the service is slated to be released March 21, with applications due April 14.

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