Could suspended parking fees become permanent in downtown Fort Myers?

Author: Annette Montgomery Writer: Elyssa Morataya
Published: Updated:

WINK News first broke the story Monday that Fort Myers city leaders were hitting the brakes on downtown parking fees after 5 p.m. Now the city is providing some clarity.

“That’s just on-street parking. The garages are 24/7,” said Mayor Kevin Anderson. “We have an obligation to the bondholders to make money on the garages.”

It’s a temporary change leading some business owners to question its long-term implications.

“If it’s just until the bridge reopens, then they’re still doing the same thing, and they’re still going to make people angry,” said downtown business owner Raimond Aulen.

So, could we see the suspension of fees even after the bridge reopens?

It’s a question WINK News reporter Annette Montgomery brought to the mayor and the general manager of Denison Parking.

“Anything is open to discussion; we have to sit down and weigh the facts. Look at both sides,” said Anderson.

“I mean, like whatever they decided to do, then we’ll follow it,” said Antuanet Amores, general manager of Denison Parking.

As for the other major questions people have whenever you bring up parking downtown: How many spots are there? And does it match the occupancy levels at neighboring businesses?

Between the three garages, the general manager said there are 1,293 spots available.

As for on-street parking …

“We have 927 parking spots, that’s including 15-minute spots and 30 minutes,” said Amores.

Annette also asked if the spaces are enough for downtown visitors.

“Yeah, we have more than enough spots for everybody visiting downtown Fort Myers,” said Amores.

The mayor and general manager of Denison Parking are in a meeting Tuesday evening to iron out the final details of the suspension of fees.

The mayor noted that parking downtown has always remained free on Sundays and holidays.

He’s also hopeful with the upcoming music walk on Friday and other events planned over the summer that we’ll see a lot more traffic downtown.

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