NEPTUNE BEACH, Fla. – The Neptune Beach City Council formally voted Monday in favor of a pay-to-park system of kiosks.
The decision was a long time coming, according to Mayor Elaine Brown.
"What we've learned over these seven years is that there's no such thing as free parking," Brown said.
Brown outlined the pilot program that will affect 165 total spaces. Parking fees will all be paid at kiosks.
"When you start doing the improvements in the (Beaches) Town Center, when you start looking at every need that we have ... whatever it might be, it costs money," Brown said.
City leaders don't believe the parking change will hurt tourism. They think it will help businesses at the Beaches Town Center. Andre Acevedo, the general manager at North Beach Fish camp, agrees.
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"We are definitely in for it. It's definitely going to help us with our turnover," Acevedo said. "We won't have a lot of people coming out, parking the entire day when they're out at the ocean."
"There's so much good, so many good things to do here that I don't mind paying $10. I'll stretch it with $20," said Ed White, a Ponte Vedra Beach resident. "Because that might be the only way you can get a spot on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday night."
Brown said the kiosks have arrived and are about to be put in place. There are plans to install them in the coming weeks.