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.

7 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Charlie A Cheek September 7, 2017

    If they do we won’t be going there anymore:(

  2. Linda September 7, 2017

    $5 an hour is really steep. I understand funds are needed for maintenance, etc, but to go from 0 to $5/hour is really too much. $25 for a day at the beach is expensive for families too. As an annual visitor, I will have to find another beach. I think it will deter visitors to the beach or limit their number of visits to the beach.

  3. dale September 7, 2017

    As a tax payer and property owner I believe a $5 fee is not all the much to ask for from tourist. Every thing takes money nothing is for free. I do however do believe walking or riding one’s bike should not be charged a fee to enjoy the park .

  4. Edward Mallory September 7, 2017

    Obviously I would prefer no charge for Brevard County residents. But, if you must, please decide on charging a once a year fee of $10.00 or $20.00

  5. Brian Costleigh September 7, 2017

    Option one, keep Lori Wilson Park as it is and let it continue to have deferred maintenance and improvement and subsequently no fees. However, it is 2017 and not 1995. People/visitors prefer a nicer maintained and upgraded park much more so than previously. And this costs money. So option 2, better maintenance and improvement. A nicer park will bring more visitors but we need to pay for it. So we can raise property tax, have an income tax or initiate a user fee. With these 3 options, I think a vast majority would opt for the user fee. Do I think $25 per day is steep? Yes, particularly since it was zero. An hourly fees of $5 is not unreasonable since either people will pay it or not go and take up a parking space which can be used for an all day parker. I think it would be reasonable to cap the daily fee to $10-15 at first as most would likely not balk at that amount. They may not like it, but they will still pay it. If the park stays full, raise the daily cap to $15-20. Then see how much people are actually willing to pay. Let’s put the fee into perspective. People are willing to pay $5-10 for a pack of cigarettes and $5-10 per drink, both of which can kill you and cost a fortune over a year. They pay $10-15 for a movie ticket. 2 adults and 3 kids and you are set back $50-75. Conversely, you are paying $15-20 per day (or $25 if the fee remains as stated) to spend the entire day at the beach! With your car, concessions and bath houses conveniently located. I don’t think people will balk. I also don’t believe Brevard residents will balk at getting an annual parking pass for a fee. Maybe for no Brevard resident who frequent Lori Wilson Park, give them the opportunity to get an annual pass for maybe $50 or $100 per year. I pay for a yearly jetty park pass routinely. Do I want too? Of course not, but the park is well maintained and I will get one again next year. If your Cocoa Beach parking pass gets you free parking, that would be reasonable. We pay our property taxes to keep our town maintained. People from Orlando pay property taxes for to maintain their hometown. It is reasonable for people from Orlando to pay to use our Cocoa Beach resources just as people from Cocoa Beach need to pay for entertainment and services in Orlando.

  6. Gloria September 10, 2017

    I think that $25 is too high. Perhaps charge $10-15 for all day parking on weekdays, $20 for weekends. Cocoa Beach residents should be free with county residents receiving a discount.

  7. Frederick Stewart September 12, 2017

    Sorry to hear the Cocoa Beach is in need of more money. Can we be sure the fees will go to maintain the park? Most communities put in the general funds.

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