The city of Sarasota is looking further into the possibility of constructing two new public garages on St. Armands Circle as it attempts to address a parking shortage in the area.
Parking Manager Mark Lyons appeared at this morning’s St. Armands Business Improvement District meeting to provide an update on the city’s parking study for the Circle, work on which began more than a year ago. The study indicated that a shortage of roughly 320 spaces existed on the island, and pointed to two public lots on Adams Drive as potential sites for a garage.
At a public meeting in April, several St. Armands stakeholders suggested that two garages — built shorter than the proposed individual structures outlined in the study — could be a more appealing option for residents and businesses. At that time, Lyons warned that the cost of constructing two garages could be prohibitive.
Today, Lyons said the city would ask consulting firm Kimley-Horn to revise the study to provide information on what a two-garage plan would look like. Lyons continued to state that cost would be an issue going forward, and said paid parking in the area could be considered as an option to fund the project.
BID board members said they didn’t want to get bogged down in details of cost and design yet, but that they wanted to see the project move along relatively quickly.
“I'm more interested in how long it’s going to be between now and the time that we agree to break ground,” said BID Vice Chairman Marty Rappaport. “We've been working on this for a long time.”
Lyons added that, while funding remains a top concern, there are several routes the city could take to pay for the structure — or structures.
“It's not a bleak picture,” Lyons said. “It's just that we have to be smart about it.”
Contact David Conway at [email protected].