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Sarasota Monday, Aug. 17, 2009 5 years ago

Commission approves parking meters

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by: Robin Roy City Editor

After hearing a parade of merchants, residents and city advisory board members ask that the city ax its plan to put parking meters downtown, the City Commission went against those requests and voted 4-1 in favor of paid parking.

The overriding theme from parking-meter opponents was “now is not the time.”

“You’ve got a lot of businesses hanging by a thread,” said Larry Fineberg, chairman of the Downtown Improvement District (DID). “We don’t see any reasonable way that it doesn’t hurt businesses.”

But Commissioner Fredd Atkins said merchants are their own worst enemies.

“The very people complaining about this are the same people who don’t know where their employees park,” he said. “If we don’t do it now, it will never happen. When the economy was booming, (merchants) were whining about it then.”

The commission approved first installing parking meters next to existing parking garages. Commissioners mentioned the garage by the courthouse, but did not mention others, such as the ones at Whole Foods Market, Plaza at Five Points and Hollywood 20.

Parking Manager Susan Dodd said she would have to clarify with the commission to which garages commissioners were referring and how large a radius around those structures they wanted to place parking meters.

The first 410 meters could be installed by December at a cost of $510,000.

Contact Robin Roy at rroy@yourobserver.com.

 

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