Channelside to get new parking garage

06/12/08 Mitch E. Perrry
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday | Listen to this entire show:

The Tampa Port Authority has plans to build a new parking garage next to the current structure in the Channelside District.

But several members of the Tampa City Council tried to persuade the Authority today to allow retail shops to be located on the first floor of the structure to create a more vibrant area directly across the street from a current row of shops.

Charlie Clue is with the Tampa Port Authority; he says Tampa is now the seventh largest cruise port in the country.

Councilman John Dingfelder said he was aware that some businesses in Channelside have struggled, but said it would be ideal for the port to raise revenue by allowing for shops to built on the first floor of the garage, instead of dedicating that to parking.

The proposed width of the sidewalk outside the garage is currently designed to be 5 feet long. Councilwoman Linda Saul Sena said the sidewalk should be at least three times that, with shade and a place for for benches, carts, maybe a café. Clue was non-committal on the request.

Councilwoman Mary Mulhern said it would seem to be in the best interest in of the port in the future to create more walkable retail presence in Channelside.

Councilman Charlie Miranda appeared to endorse the parking garage, saying other parts of town would relish having such a structure.

City Council members said they would encourage the Tampa Port Authority to review their concerns.

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