The St. Armands Circle Business Improvement District (BID) made it clear Tuesday, July 12 it wants nothing to do with parking meters the city recently installed downtown. Instead, it wants a parking garage like the one the city is already committed to building on State Street.
At a July 12 BID meeting, Sarasota City Commissioner Terry Turner informed BID members that a special commission meeting will be held at 10 a.m. July 21 to discuss possibly placing parking meters on St. Armands Circle.
Turner told the Longboat Observer he expressed to those in attendance at the BID meeting that some downtown merchants are upset that the meters were placed in front of their businesses and not in front of Circle businesses.
“I only mentioned that the Circle merchants might want to attend that (July 21) meeting, because I have heard that point will be expressed by the downtown merchants,” Turner said.
The possibility of parking meters coming to the Circle did not sit well with members, especially with St. Armands Circle Business Improvement District Chairman Marty Rappaport.
Rappaport said he has met with city officials to request a parking garage. When contacted by the Longboat Observer, he declined to comment about a potential garage on the Circle, calling the discussions “too premature for publication.”
The city already has a contract for the State Street parking lot, which must be built according to the city’s master plan and an agreement in place with Pineapple Square. Pineapple Square gave the lot back to the city as long as a garage is built in its place within four years.
Turner, however, said a garage is not totally out of the question for the Circle.
“This fall, city staff is going to look into the possibility of a parking garage being placed near the St. Armands Circle fire station,” said Turner, who believes a combination of special district tax monies and parking meter revenue could help fund the project.
Parking meters coming to St. Armands Circle, however, will not be tolerated, according to Rappaport.
“Every Circle merchant and every Circle landowner would be opposed to it,” Rappaport said.
Contact Kurt Schultheis at [email protected].