What is Fort Myers doing with its parking revenue?

Reporter: Olivia Jean
Published: Updated:

In December 2023, the City of Fort Myers changed its parking system.

Now, we are learning just how much Fort Myers has made, and it is safe to say, the increase in funds is huge.

Out with the old coin system, and in with new technology, but people are upset over the new parking fees and practices.

Today, the city sat down with WINK News Reporter Olivia Jean to provide some updated information and explanations.

The city provided WINK News with some numbers. There are a total of 2,220 parking spots; the same number available before the new parking system was implemented.

  • From October 2022 to October 2023, the city made $1,758,044 from parking revenue.
  • From October 2023 to April 30th of this year, the city has already made $2,177,390 dollars in parking revenue.

As you see, there is a huge revenue increase. These numbers include on-street parking, parking garages and penalties and fines.

The biggest changes downtown parking has seen is that parking rates are higher and the city took away all free parking, except one free hour in downtown parking garages. If you stay longer than the hour, you’ll be charged for two.

The old system wasn’t technology-driven which the city says, was a big drive for the upgrade to the parking system as well as better accessibility because people can no longer park for the entire day in front of a business.

“The idea with a new parking management system is to make parking available for people to want to come down to conduct business,” Marty Lawing, the Fort Myers City Manager said.

The main goal, Lawing says is “to meet our budget” and stay “self-supporting.”

The numbers show the city is meeting projections but as for where the money is going?

“The parking is an enterprise fund for the city, meaning the revenues of the parking support the operating costs of the parking system. So no general fund dollars are required to support the parking fund. So it’s working as intended,” Lawing said.

Basically, the city said the money that is coming would pay for parking amenities.

Lawing said any excess money will go into a fund balance that can be carried forward for future years.

A lingering question many are asking is ‘Will this be worth it?’

Several downtown business owners have spoken to WINK News, including the Owner of The Standard Restaurant, Chris Blauvelt.

“The pressing issue is getting people down here to support these businesses. Now you’re driving away by forcing them to buy a ticket to nine o’clock at night, Saturdays and Sundays,” Blauvelt said.

Blauvelt said the biggest difference he has seen since the new parking system has been implemented is “the streets are empty.”

He continued to say, “I just feel that parking is really putting real, real strain on businesses.”

But the city says otherwise, as they’ve seen an increase in parking turnover.

“There’s more new parking sessions initiated, which makes it easier for people to find parking spaces if they want to go to a business and go out to dinner or whatever,” Lawing said.

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