After years of staying set at 50 cents per hour, the parking rate in downtown Fort Myers may be set to increase, as the city looks to pay for infrastructure upgrades.
Fort Myers Mayor Kevin Anderson says the extra funds would be used for building and repairs around the city, to keep up with its growing population. Anderson says parking prices have already been low for years. Other city officials point to Fort Myers’ current parking rates being very low in comparison to other Florida cities, where an hour of parking could cost $2 or more.
Richard Procopio comes to downtown Fort Myers often. He tells WINK News that continuing to pay just 50 cents per hour would mean people wouldn’t have to worry about paying a lot for parking and would instead spend that money at one of the businesses downtown.
“I mean, we are trying to keep things cheap anyway, keep things better for everyone to survive, to have a life and do things,” Procopio said. “I think less people would come downtown if they had to pay more. I think that would be a result in anything in life.”
The City of Fort Myers hasn’t changed its parking rates since 2012. In the last decade, the downtown area has been extensively renovated, attracting more businesses and visitors, which means the demand for parking has increased, too.
“50 cents an hour is where I think it should stay, I think it would do nothing but hurt the downtown area somewhat,” Procopio said. “It’s hard enough to find a parking spot as it is, and having to go back to the meters constantly and everything when everyone’s trying to enjoy the restaurants, nightlife or whatever… Starbucks, you know.”
This issue will be discussed at a special city budget meeting starting at 5:15 p.m.