St. Armands merchant upset about paid parking; employee parking

St. Armands merchant upset about paid parking; employee parking
The City of Sarasota's new parking garage on St. Armands Circle officially opens on Tuesday morning. (Source: Ray Collins)

SARASOTA (WWSB) - The new parking garage in St. Armands Circle opens tomorrow, but already one merchant is upset on two different fronts. Barbara Pugliese, Owner of “Just/Because” says it’s not fair other parts of the city don’t have paid parking yet.

"We have a lot of customers with reservations about that. What’s the incentive about coming to St. Armands versus going downtown or to a mall where it’s free. parking? Is it going to drive business away or are people going to continue to come? It’s important we have paid parking all over the city, not just in one business district so we’re not pitting one of us against someplace else..” Pugliese said.

A city spokesman said paid parking on the streets of downtown Sarasota will begin “early summer.”

And that’s not all she’s upset about. Pugliese is disappointed her part-time workers can’t share a $10 monthly parking pass. The city spokesman said sharing is allowed when there are two workers total, and besides “monthly parking passes in downtown are $20.”

City Parking Manager Mark Lyons says, even though the garage officially opens tomorrow, it is already opened today. He says during the “soft opening” there won’t be any charge for parking.

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