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Sarasota News Leader June 7, 2013 Page 26 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 said. Newly elected — and hence unscarred from the "parking meter wars" — Commissioner Susan Chapman asked, "Are there other best practices for revenue besides parking meters?" Lyons replied that he would start to examine that "over the next couple of months." The scarred but re-elected proponent of parking meters, Commissioner Suzanne Atwell, observed, "Parking management funds suffered greatly after we took out the meters." Chapman noted the money to run the city's parking program — building and operating parking garages, enforcing hourly limits, booting and towing scofflaws — must come from somewhere. "Free parking for customers and staff is a public subsidy," she said. "It is a city subsidy." 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. STATE STREET GARAGE PASSES MILESTONE In the meantime, the city is preparing to build another parking garage downtown. It is compelled to have it finished by the end of December next year according to a contract with the developer of Pineapple Square, a downtown project. Mark Lyons (left), the city's parking division manager, and Chris Gallagher, chairman of the Parking Advisory Board, speak with the City Commission on June 3. Photo by Norman Schimmel 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. The commissioners received an update on the plans following Lyon's presentation of the "guiding principles." City Planner Steve Stancel said $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 expressed a desire to have tenants or owners in the space when the building is finished. They are still smarting from the extra year of delay it took to get somebody into the ground

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