Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Visitors to Treasure Island beaches have new parking option

TREASURE ISLAND — If you love going to the beach but hate feeding the parking meter, Treasure Island has a deal for you.

Now anyone can buy an annual parking pass valid at any Treasure Island metered parking lot — and you can use it as many times as you want all year long.

For non-resident beachgoers, until now there was only one option -- put $6 into a parking meter for each day at the beach. The cost of the new annual pass is $75, equivalent to about a dozen daylong metered beach visits.

This is a hefty increase for residents and property owners, however, who previously could buy an annual beach pass for $5.

Several weeks ago, the city found out it might lose millions of dollars of beach renourishment money if it continued to sell restricted beach passes.

"It has come to my attention that the city of Treasure Island is issuing resident-only passes for parking,'' Catherine Florko, an environmental specialist for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, wrote in an email to Andy Squires, Pinellas County's coastal manager. "The lots can no longer be counted for eligibility for state cost."

That email was forwarded to City Manager Reid Silverboard, who told city commissioners in December that they would have to either eliminate beach passes completely or offer them to the public.

"We have known for a while this is an issue and now it has come to a head," Silverboard said.

Every few years, the city's beaches are rebuilt with tons of new sand paid for mostly by the state and federal governments.

In exchange for the millions of taxpayer dollars being spent on the city's constantly eroding beaches, the state and federal governments ask two things -- that there is enough public parking and that none of that parking is restricted in any way.

In addition to public metered parking lots, the city counts many on-street parking spaces in Sunset Beach to qualify for beach renourishment.

But even with that requirement met, if the commission had decided to continue to sell reduced-cost parking passes, Silverboard said he was told by Squires that the city would no longer be eligible for beach renourishment.

In 2012, about 1,400 passes were sold at a cost of $5 each, generating about $6,500 in revenue.

Parking meter revenues contributed more than $250,000 to the city's coffers.

Although Silverboard said he hopes not that many people will buy the passes and will continue to use the parking meters, the new pass system could be a financial windfall.

It would take less than five percent of the estimated 80,000 annual beach visitors to be willing to buy the new parking passes to match past revenues. If 20 percent of these beachgoers decide to buy annual passes, the city could take in more than $1 million in revenue.

The commission voted 4-1 to approve the new parking pass program with only Commissioner Julian Fant opposed.

The plastic hanger passes must be placed on the rear view mirror of the vehicle parked on the beach.

As in the past, city employees will receive free passes. The passes are not allowed to be used for offsite residential parking or for business employee parking.

"I think you will be surprised how fast this will network out on Facebook and Twitter that a regular visitor to the beach can buy a pass to go to the beach that is the same as going 10 or 12 times a year," Silverboard said.

Visitors to Treasure Island beaches have new parking option 01/05/13 [Last modified: Thursday, January 3, 2013 5:21pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Across country, small retailers aim for emotional ties big chains may lack

    Business

    Some smaller retailers will tug at shoppers' heartstrings during the holidays, trying to create an emotional experience or connection that a big national chain might not provide.

    Some smaller retailers will tug at shoppers’ heartstrings during the holidays, trying to create an emotional experience or connection that a big national chain might not provide. Keep St. Pete Local is an independent business alliance in St. Petersburg that has more than 600 members.
  2. Zimbabwe's incoming leader returns home to cheers

    World

    Associated Press

    HARARE, Zimbabwe — Poised to become Zimbabwe's next president, a former confidant of ousted leader Robert Mugabe on Wednesday promised "a new, unfolding democracy" and reached out to the world, saying international help is needed to rebuild the shattered economy.

    Supporters of Zimbabwe’s president in waiting, Emmerson Mnangagwa, known as “The Crocodile,” raise a stuffed reptile  in the air Wednesday as they await Mnangagwa’s arrival at the ZANU-PF party headquarters in Harare. He will be sworn in on Friday.
  3. Hernando deputies make arrest after finding body of dead woman Wednesday

    Crime

    BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County sheriff's deputies arrested a 32-year-old man Wednesday who they say killed a woman.

  4. Mother and two children hit by car in Tampa

    News

    TAMPA — A mother of two was in critical condition Wednesday night after a car struck her and her two children as they attempted to cross S Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa police said.

  5. Bucs journal: Gerald McCoy says team has not turned the corner yet

    Bucs

    TAMPA — The Bucs have some positive momentum with back-to-back wins, but DT Gerald McCoy said it's too soon to say his 4-6 team has turned a corner.

    Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy pressures Dolphins QB Matt Moore (8) during Sunday’s game.