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 email@example.com.
Currently 4 Responses
- Regarding Wendy Getchell's letter, it seems that when the public says what it really thinks, all politicians, big or small, decide we are whiners, mobs, fools, and any other name they can come up with to call us. They have forgotten one very important name - VOTER. Trust me when I say next go round, every politician currently in office from city commissioner to president will receive a hearty NO from me, but if I see any politician who is not a career man or woman, who really gives a hang about the people and will tell the truth (the truth will hurt folks, but we've only ourselves to blame), that person will get my vote. Whether Democrat, who for some unknown reason chose a jackass as a symbol or a Republican, whose elephant forgot who put them in office, I will vote for an honest person. If taxes are necessary, say so. If we can't afford all the gimme's, get rid of them. I, for one, DO NOT WANT A NANNY STATE. My folks taught me to take care of myself, whether I have to work one, two or three jobs to do so. They also taught me if a job pays and is honest, then it is NOT beneath my dignity to perform. Maybe we should take a step back and decide to be the United States again instead of the Give Me More So I Have No Responsibility States. But for now, the parking meters will hurt more than help. I refuse to use them for any reason. Join me, Sarasota, in making these meters a losing proposition AND in getting rid of these commissioners.
- $1,250 each for the first 410 parking meters? Wow, Sarasota sure knows how to waste money in a poor economy! What will we be doing next? Carving the likeness of our commissioners into the side of a mountain? Thank GOD there are no mountains in Florida!
- I was present at the City Commission meeting yesterday, and was one of the people that spoke out against parking meters being installed at this time. I was there speaking for my own business as well as representing the Downtown Merchants Association. After hearing several organizations and individuals speak out against it, I was surprised by the attitude expressed by Commissioner Atkins when he stated " When the economy was booming, (merchants) were whining about it then.” In reality, the DMA and the Partnership were in favor of the parking meter study when it was proposed two years ago. The difference being obvious with the economy change, but along with that, something that was not brought up yesterday, was the fact that two years ago Pineapple Square, the Benderson Bank of America Hotel Project, Palm Avenue Hotel/Parking Garage and numerous other large projects that included parking garages were scheduled to be built and completed by 2010. These projects would have given the public many choices for parking when they came downtown to enjoy the restaurants, shops, cultural and performing events without always having to worry about how much was left in their meter. We are now going into the 4th quarter of 2009, and none of these projects are coming any time soon.
We are not "whiners", we are your neighbors, relatives, and fellow citizens that pay our share of taxes and are just trying to stay in business to support ourselves and our employees. We want to see Downtown Sarasota become a vibrant jewel in the crown of the county, as it should be, as the City Commission should also want. That said, the City could help by funding a media campaign to educate the public about how the meters will be placed and utilized, and speed up the Wayfinding Program to have better direction to the parking garages that are currently in place. This would be a display of support for the local economy in general.
Wendy Getchell, DMA President
- I was so afraid our commissioners would do what was best for Sarasota. Thank goodness, they have proved themselves incompetent as in most cases. Stop trying to be so darned big city and try keeping the things that make our little tourist mecca worth returning to. Take a poll - you will find most tourist hate what is happening to our city as do the inhabitants.
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