After years of remaining pegged at 50 cents an hour, parking rates in downtown Fort Myers could rise as the city seeks to pay for infrastructure upgrades.
Fort Myers Mayor Kevin Anderson said the additional funds would be used for construction and repairs in the city to keep pace with its growing population. Anderson says parking prices have already been low for years. Other city officials point out that Fort Myers’ current parking rates are very low compared to other Florida cities, where an hour of parking can cost $2 or more.
Richard Procopio often comes to downtown Fort Myers. He tells WINK News that continuing to pay just 50 cents an hour would mean people wouldn’t have to worry about paying much for parking and would instead spend that money at one of the downtown businesses.
“I mean, we’re trying to keep things cheap anyway, keep things better so that everyone survives and has a life and does things,” Procopio said. “I think fewer people would come downtown if they had to pay more. I think that would be a result of anything in life.
The City of Fort Myers has not changed its parking rates since 2012. Over the past decade, the downtown area has been extensively renovated, attracting more businesses and visitors, which means parking demand also increased.
“50 cents an hour is where I think he should stay, I think it would just hurt downtown a bit,” Procopio said. “It’s hard enough to find a parking spot as it is, and constantly having to go back to meters and stuff when everyone’s trying to enjoy restaurants, nightlife or whatever…Starbucks, you know.”
This issue will be discussed at a special city budget meeting beginning at 5:15 p.m.