Security plans in place for Championship Beach Bash

Parking could be big problem
Posted at 6:21 PM, Jan 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-06 18:21:32-05

Security measures are already in place for the Championship Beach Bash at Clearwater Beach Sunday.

Officials said high security plans were already set and they're not making any major changes, but parking could be a problem.

Alabama and Clemson fans, already hitting Clearwater Beach, filling the Pier 60 parking lot Friday.

“We always ride our bikes to Clearwater beach because of the parking issues,” Julie Murphree said.

Those issues are only expected to amplify Sunday, when Visit St. Pete/Clearwater throws the Championship Beach Bash and the Pier 60 lot is closed.

“I think it will be packed, I think it will be very packed,” Murphree said.

The city said they needed to close the Pier 60 lot, with about 300 parking spots, so they can provide extra security.

“Each team will have over 500 marching band members alone, there will be national media coming, there will also of course be celebrities coming and we needed a secure place for them to park so that’s why we decided to close Pier 60 lot,” Jason Beisel, Public Information Coordinator for the City of Clearwater, said.

In addition to the Pier 60 lot closing, a busy stretch of Gulfview Boulevard will also be closed. The nearest city parking garage is several blocks away.

That new garage adds 450 spots, but loyal fans know how packed these parties can be.

“Last year parking was pretty rough, crowds were pretty rough, especially at events that were held for the championship so I think this year it will be even harder to get into places,” Clemson fan Ali James said.

The City of Clearwater released this statement: “The safety and security of our residents and guests to Clearwater Beach is always our top priority. In light of the today’s shooting at Fort Lauderdale Airport our officers will be more vigilant, and checking for any suspicious activity during the Championship Beach Bash.”

They are urging you to parking downtown in a free lot and take the Clearwater Ferry or Jolly Trolley to the beach.

“We’re going to come down Sunday but like I said we’re going to ride our bikes and we’ll be able to just buzz right in here but I don’t know about people trying to drive in here, I don’t know what it’s going to be,” Murphree said.

The Beach Bash kicks off Sunday at 11 am.