Atlanta Church Encourages Guests to "Park at Saint Mark" to Support Ministries

Wednesday, June 14th, 2023

Visitors to Midtown Atlanta can choose a parking option convenient to destinations like the Fox Theatre, Georgia Tech, and a variety of restaurants while supporting community causes at the same time, thanks to a new 150-space deck constructed behind Saint Mark United Methodist Church at the corner of 5th and Peachtree.

Before the garage was constructed, Saint Mark owned the land and had a surface parking lot on it. The church worked with Phoenix Parking Solutions to implement a text-to-pay management model before they sold the land to a developer. In 2020, construction began on a 26-story high-rise that included 19 levels of residential apartments and seven levels of parking. Jeff Patterson, president of Phoenix Parking Solutions, continued his involvement as a consultant to the developer while the parking deck was under construction.

As part of its agreement with the developer, Saint Mark has purchased 150 parking spots that are reserved for church attendees on Sunday mornings and during church events. Outside of church hours, the parking spots are available to the public at market rates comparable to what is charged in other Midtown garages. Parkers will enjoy a cashless parking model to make parking simple and convenient.

“We are excited to continue our partnership with Saint Mark by helping to create a revenue stream that will benefit the church’s outreach and ministries, as well as care for its historical Atlanta church facility,” says Patterson.

Each church member can register a vehicle per family, which is identified by its license plate. When they enter the garage, license plate recognition technology from Phoenix Parking Solutions notes their tag and validates it automatically. Future improvements include a dedicated elevator and parking bridge that will directly link the garage to the church’s Education Building. Visitors who attend church at Saint Mark can have their parking easily validated with a code and have free parking during church services through 2 p.m. to allow time for lunch with friends at local restaurants following church services.

The revenue generated by these parking spots outside of church hours will benefit Saint Mark’s ministries and the upkeep of the property. 

“Anyone who parks here is making a difference in the community we serve,” says Belva White, chairperson of the Trustees Committee. “If you have a choice between parking here and somewhere else, this is a good place to make a positive impact on the community.”

Saint Mark has been a fixture in its current location since 1902, known for its commitment to social justice. It was one of the first churches to desegregate and is known for being allies of the LGBTQ+ community. In the 1990s, it was one of the few Atlanta churches that would perform funeral rites in the sanctuary for those who had died of HIV/AIDS. Today, the church continues to be active in Atlanta’s Pride celebrations and is involved in missions like feeding those who are unhoused or food insecure.

“Our ministries have continued consistently. Through the national economic downturn and the global pandemic, we've never ceased providing free meals for Tuesday night dinner and Saturday morning breakfast,” says Mitch Foster II, vice chairperson of the Church Council.

The church held a ribbon cutting on Sunday, June 4 to commemorate the completion of this project and welcome all to “Park at Saint Mark.”