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Sarasota's Downtown Improvement District (DID) board took a stand Tuesday, April 29, to oppose any effort to reinstitute paid park- ing in the city. With Chairman Ernie Ritz absent, the group voted 3-1 on the issue, with member Eileen Hampshire in the minority. It was Hampshire who started the discussion. She is a member of a small board advis- ing City of Sarasota P a r k i n g M a n a g e r Mark Lyons. During the past two meetings, the Parking Advisory Board has discussed ways to reintroduce paid parking. Parking now is free both on the streets and in city-operated garages. As a consequence, Lyons' department is $544,000 in the red, necessitating a sub- sidy from property tax revenue. The Sarasota C i t y C o m m i s s i o n late last year con- s i d e r e d i n s t i t u t i n g paid parking for the Palm Avenue parking garage. But it backed Meter stumps remained in downtown Sarasota in late summer of 2012 after the City Commission nixed the idea of paid parking. Photo by Norman Schimmel WORRIES AIRED ABOUT SHOPPERS DESERTING DOWNTOWN FOR THE MALL AT UNIVERSITY TOWN CENTER AFTER IT OPENS DID OPPOSES PAID PARKING Writing letters is a waste of time. You should designate a person to make a presentation to the City Commission. John Moran Operations Manager Downtown Improvement District By Stan Zimmerman City Editor

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