Sanford city leaders consider buying land for more parking downtown

Downtown losing public parking to new development

SANFORD, Fla. – Sanford city leaders are considering buying property near downtown to help alleviate parking concerns.

Resident Melvin Gonzalez said finding parking can be tough.

"When they've got functions it gets packed really fast," Gonzalez said.

Downtown Sanford is booming and it's only going to get bigger. Joe Rosier said he's had problems finding a place to park his car.

“I came up here on a Friday night with my wife and the parking, you couldn’t find a parking spot anywhere,” Rosier said.

The city is expecting more people to enjoy what it has to offer when the new Heritage Park opens in a few years. The new development features residential apartments and retail space along three blocks between Lake Monroe and 1st Street.

Currently, that land is an empty lot and two parking lots. The developer told News 6 construction is expected to start in a year. The new development will take away more than 200 prime parking spots.

"If they take those parking spaces away I don't know where people are going to park," Gonzalez said.

City leaders said parking has been a problem for years and they’re trying to prepare for this new development.

The City Commission is considering buying an acre of land within walking distance to downtown at East 1st Street and Pine Avenue for $375,000. The city said it could build 85 public parking spots. Officials said this won’t solve the problem, but it will help and they are still working on other parking solutions.

The Heritage Park developer said it will also include 124 public street parking spaces.

Rosier said he’s glad the city is thinking ahead.

"I think the city will resolve it because it's part of the economy and they're going to have to resolve it," he said.

The Sanford City Commission meets on Monday at 4:30 p.m. to discuss purchasing the land.

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