MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Myrtle Beach officials are reporting a spike in parking revenue numbers across the city, including the Golden Mile.
Charging to park along the Golden Mile brought in more than $52,000 for Myrtle Beach from mid-July to the end of October last year.
It’s a number, the city wasn’t expecting to see.
“We had estimated that it would generate about $30,000, so more people paid to park than we expected,” city spokesman Mark Kruea said.
Tiffini Cooper took out her credit card to park Thursday afternoon. Though she lives closer to Surfside Beach, she drives up to the Golden Mile for a reason.
“Down south a little bit, it’s very touristy, and if we live here we don’t want to be around it all the time,” Cooper said.
Looking at the past three years, there’s no denying the nearly $200,000 increase year-over-year from paid parking meters in the city as a whole.
For 2016, the city reported the gross parking revenue for all parking areas was $1,665,570.27. In 2015, the gross revenue was $1,463,673.05, and in 2014 it was $1,256,061.18
According to city officials, the 2016 net revenue for the Golden Mile is $52,506.20. This was from mid-July through Oct. 31, 2016.
However, some people are still getting used to the idea of paying to park, especially along the Golden Mile.
“Well, it depends on if you live here or not,” Larry Gamble said. “If you live here and have to pay every time you come up here, three or four times a week, you wouldn’t think it was too good. If you are a visitor, you figure it’s the price of being on vacation like anything else.”
“I mean, I get the whole tourist thing. They make money on it; it’s cool,” Cooper said. “But I think it’s a little expensive for those of us who live here and want to come down to the beach every now and again.”
City officials said money was never the driving force behind paying to park along the Golden Mile.
“People couldn’t back out of their driveways, people were tearing up grass,” Kruea said. “They were changing cloths in their front yard, they were drinking and partying in a neighborhood area.”
Those living in the northern avenues seem to be happy with the city’s response, given what they’ve dealt with every summer season.
“This place is flooded in the middle of summer,” Gamble said.
With paid parking generating more and more money, the city can put it back into the very areas it came from.
“It pays for the streetscape improvements downtown, it pays to maintain the boardwalk and Ocean Boulevard,” Kruea said. “It helps pay for the events and activities we help program downtown.”
So far, by looking at the numbers and speaking to locals, having to pay to park doesn’t seem to be turning people away.
“You can’t really avoid it, so might as well just deal with it,” Cooper said.
Those who live outside of the city limits can pay for a non-resident parking pass. So far, over 100 have been sold this year. That pass costs $100 a year.
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