Winter Garden Opens A New Parking Garage Downtown
City officials marked another milestone of the redevelopment process Nov. 12 as they officially opened the brand new parking garage in downtown Winter Garden.
As the downtown area has grown and attracted new businesses over the last several years, parking became increasingly limited.
“The city decided to revitalize the sidewalks, landscaping, gazebo and the world-famous clock tower,” said City Commissioner Bob Buchanan. “With all the revitalization, businesses decided to show up, which created a need for parking.”
Number of parking space: 520
Number of levels: 3
Date construction began: April 11, 2016
Date construction ended: Sept. 17, 2016
Cost to park at the garage: Nothing. It's free.
The idea of the garage began several years ago when city leaders began asking Winter Garden residents for permission to build the garage. Getting a consensus took nearly two years, said City Manager Mike Bollhoefer.
“To build a project like this takes a lot of people working together,” he said. “But our goal has been to make Winter Garden the best small city in the state of Florida.”
And many believe that the parking garage will allow the city to continue its track of growth.
“The parking garage will enhance the economic vibrancy in downtown Winter Garden and enable new construction,” Buchanan said.
But one of the keys to the parking garage’s success was the decision to make it blend with the architecture of downtown.
“We wanted to maintain our family friendly, small-town charm,” Buchanan said. “Nobody wanted something that didn’t match the downtown.”
Covered in real brick and surrounded by landscaping, the garage looks nothing like a typical parking garage.
Funded by the Community Redevelopment Agency, which receives all of its funds from ad valorem property taxes, construction began on April 11, and the building was erected within 38 days. However, the garage wasn’t completed until Sept. 17.
“This city has what every city in Florida wants, and you’ve done a phenomenal job on this downtown,” said Bill Finfrock, president of Finfrock, the construction company contracted to build the parking garage. “I predict that you will not regret building the garage. It will have lasting value for years to come.”
With three levels of parking, the garage has added more than 500 parking spots to the downtown Winter Garden area.
“It’s a lot of building in a little space,” said Justin Gabbard, superintendent of the project.
And all that added parking is great news for local businesses and events organizers.
“If we didn’t have that parking garage, we couldn’t grow,” said Dana Brown, of RTP Productions Management, who oversees the Winter Garden Farmers Market.
The garage is located at 160 S. Boyd Street.