To the Editor:
Without a doubt there is a parking issue going on here in downtown Boca Grande. The problem arising, yet again, on Gilcrest Avenue is just the tip of the iceberg. Something should really be done to counteract this civil disagreement.
Although the median has become rather unsightly with so many worn out patches of grass, this strip of land is valuable to many people who pay their fair share of money to cross the bridge to this beautiful island. There simply are not many places to park in our petite downtown area; especially during the busy months and tarpon season – leaving day trippers, churchgoers, workers and seasonal guests no option but to park on the Gilcrest median. Many of the shops, boutiques and restaurants have very minimal parking slots for full size vehicles, if any at all. That’s the plus of having a golf cart while vacationing or working on the island; it’s easy to pull up to the sidewalk and park front row. Golf carts don’t take up much space, and you don’t have to circle the town in slow motion desperately searching for taillights.
This time-consuming task is also a threat to new businesses trying to operate in our historic district. They are being denied because of inefficient parking space according to zoning regulations, which is unjust and partial to the businesses that have never had to meet these strict standards.
There should be a way to make this situation fair for everyone: for those who want to beautify Gilcrest and return it to its original purpose; for the small business owners who need more space to legitimatize their operation; and the numerous numbers of people who need somewhere to park during community events and church functions.
In the past, many people have parked their vehicles on the strip of grass dividing the bike path from East Railroad Avenue and the Gasparilla Inn playground. Why couldn’t that be an adequately county-owned and maintained parking area? Just a thought. I’m sure plenty of people have ideas of their own.
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