TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Fransico Isabel walks his granddaughter to Vila Brothers Park three times a week.
Lately he says the park has been flooded with cars.
“There are too many cars in the JCC so they park over there in the park,” Isabel said.
The cars belong to members of the newly renovated Jewish Community Center on Howard Avenue. When they have large events, there aren’t nearly enough parking spaces.
Members use the park across the street as an alternative lot. These events are often hosted in the afternoon or during rush hour.
“It’s just lots of traffic we aren’t prepared for,” says Sandy Sanchez who is not only a member of the JCC, but also the president of the Armory Gardens Civic Association.
She says members have been taking over the streets, causing more issues with traffic.
“If they don’t block the driveways, they are parked on the other side and the people can’t get out of their driveway because it’s too narrow to get by,” says Sanchez.
Originally the city granted permission for members to use the park for overflow parking, but only on occasion.
“I think everybody anticipated for certain special occasions there might be some overflow parking, but it has gone to be almost a daily event. We are going to put a stop to that. It’s a park not a parking lot,” says Bob McDonaugh who is the Administrator of Economic Opportunity for the city of Tampa.
He says the JCC is working on solutions and may even add a new parking lot to their property.
The center is also working on a valet parking plan. They have also offered free memberships to 900 residents in the area.
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