Pay for Parking
On August 22, 2017, the Brevard County Commission approved a proposal to begin charging a parking fee at Lori Wilson Park in Cocoa Beach. The proposal passed by a 4-1 vote means that non-county residents will have to pay $5 per hour to park with a max of $25 per day. When the proposal was first announced, Commissioner Jim Barfield stated that Brevard County resident would not be charged parking fees, but within the section of the proposed agenda that addresses residents, it states, “A fee may be established to purchase the technology to access the automated paid parking system.” The proposed fee for Brevard County residents would be $20 annually to park at Lori Wilson. Barfield has stated that “he would strive to avoid any parking costs at Lori Wilson Park for Brevard residents.” The decision for the technology that will be used is still a matter for discussion at later meetings.
The revenue generated from the parking fees is said to go towards maintenance and improvements to the park, such as new trails, green areas, pavilions, and improvements for the disabled. The discussion to improve Lori Wilson began in April by the Tourism Development Council as well as with Brevard and Cocoa Beach officials. Executive Director Tony Sasso of Keep Brevard Beautiful told the Beach Improvements Committee that Lori Wilson is “long overdue” for improvements and that Lori Wilson used to be “a jewel in this community.”
The community is divided on this issue. On one hand, most people, locals and tourists alike, do not like the idea of having to pay to park.
David McCormick stated in a comment on a Brevard Times article on Facebook, “As a frequent visitor to the area I would not like the additional fees.”
However, many people also agree that the park needs maintenance and could benefit from improvements. The boards need nails replaced and bathrooms could use an update. The disagreement seems to lie with how these improvements will be implemented and how locals will be able to gain parking rights to this loved park. Another key point that was not addressed during these hearings was how the pay for parking would impact the use of the dog park that many people use on a regular basis. People who walk or bike through the park will not be charged an entrance fee. For now it seems as locals are in a limbo area until they find out more details about how they will be able to park at this loved park in the heart of Cocoa Beach.