Apopka residents raise safety concerns over parking lot
City working to purchase lot and improve safety
ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – The parking located behind businesses at the corner of Main Street and Park Avenue has some Apopka residents frustrated.
They said the parking issue is dangerous, especially on Sundays during church.
"During the week it's normal. On Sundays, it gets a horrendous mess," said Ed Hollingsworth, the owner of the Chuck Wagon in downtown.
Hollingsworth said every spot is filled and the lot fills with people when church services are over. He told News 6 that his restaurant loses business because his customers can't park safely. Hollingsworth called the parking a dangerous situation.
"People triple park. There's kids when church let's out, kids are running around. It's mayhem out there," he said.
Hollingsworth told News 6 that someone was hit by a car last weekend.
"Somebody is going to get killed out here eventually if they continue to do the way they're doing it and nothing is done about it," customer Sherry Robins said.
Hollingsworth and some of his customers have taken their concerns to the city. The problem is that it is not a public parking lot. Police cannot ticket violators and Hollingsworth cannot legally tow cars.
The lot is co-owned by the City of Apopka and private owners.
Roberty Sargent, with the city, said they are starting talks to see if Apopka can purchase the whole lot and turn it into public parking with plans to improve lot. But Sargent said this will take time.
"I'm hopeful that we will definitely get cooperation from the churches and the business owners there as we move forward to find ways to make this safer," Sargent said.
Until then, the city is urging everyone who parks in the lot to drive carefully and to take extra precautions.
But Hollingsworth said they need results now.
"It's just a chaotic scene and it needs to get under control now," Hollingsworth said.
The city says it has been working to improve the parking lot for the past year. Leaders are talking about what they could do to make it safer for the time being, including possible police patrols or using code enforcement.
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