Sarasota News Leader

01/03/2014

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LOOKING BACK YEAR IN REVIEW: JUNE Louies Modern opens in the ground floor of the Palm Avenue parking garage well after the city commissioners hoped to have that space leased. The commissioners say they do not want to make the same mistake when the State Street garage is built. Photo by Norman Schimmel A freshly scabbed-over wound is briefly reopened June 3, when the city committee advising Parking Division Manager Mark Lyons presents the Sarasota City Commission a set of five "guiding principles" and an overall mission statement. After the presentation, city commissioners quiz Lyons about finances. Lyons says his staff cannot issue enough tickets to put his department in the black. "Revenue through enhanced enforcement is not sustainable," he adds. The parking meter fiasco of two years ago — put 'em in, take 'em out — put Lyons in a bind. "We're trying to develop a strategic plan," he says. Meanwhile, it is back to usual downtown, with merchants and their employees playing a game they are very familiar with — "the parking shuffle": moving their vehicles from one Main Street space to another every two hours to avoid tickets. Customers regularly find it is easier to locate open parking spaces at the malls. The City of Sarasota is preparing to build another parking garage downtown. It is compelled to have the facility finished by the end of December 2014, according to a contract with the developer of Pineapple Square, a downtown project. The garage will have a minimum of 300 public spaces. The project will be one of mixed use, with retail on the ground floor of the structure and — possibly — condominiums on the higher levels. On June 3, the commissioners hear from City Planner Steve Stancel that $7.2 million has been set aside to build the structure, which could include up to 14,000 square feet of retail and commercial space. Commissioners express a desire

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