Downtown Fort Myers has seen a renaissance over the past few years, but with the new restaurants and businesses comes a bigger and new need--parking.
"On the weekends you do see people driving around to park and lots do fill up," said Los Cabos manager Mickey Ferry.
If you pay to park monthly in the garage or come to downtown for special events, it will soon cost you more to park.
Tonight the Fort Myers City Council approved the first measure to eventually add nearly 800 new parking spaces by raising rates to park.
Starting February 1st monthly parking spaces in the garage will jump to $55 from $50. To park at special events it will cost you $5 instead of $4. Council also approved an additional surcharge that will not go higher than $5 dollars and events can opt to enforce them or not.
"We did this because it is going on 6 years now that we haven't changed the rates. Last time was in 2007," said Paight.
The hike would help pay for the two proposed parking garages to be built within the next five years with a price tag of nearly 12 million dollars.
The redevelopment agency says the parking hikes will help pay for the garages, but it will only raise an additional $75,000 a year.
"2 to 3 hundred thousand dollars a year will offset about 3 or 4 million dollars in debt service for a loan to build a garage," said paight.
The agency is also in talks to partner up with the proposed hotel coming to town to split the bill and then sign a long term lease with the hotel for the garage.
"If we tie the hotel with the garage we can get some grants and tax credit programs," said Paight.