Pasco commissioners vote to nix $2 parking fee

It will cover all nine parks, but not boat launch
Posted at 9:07 PM, Jul 12, 2017

Parkgoers in Pasco County will soon save money when they want to enjoy the great outdoors.

The Pasco County Commission voted to nix a long-time parking fee.

$2 might not sound like a lot, but it adds up.

That’s why so many say they are glad to see it go.

Lynn Young said she’s been coming to Strickland Memorial Park at Hudson Beach for years.

“I enjoy the fresh air. I enjoy the sunsets. I enjoy the seagulls.”

But she said that she never thought having to pay for parking at a public park was fair. And she’s glad county commissioners voted to get rid of the $2 fee.

“It’s about time because there are a lot of families here. And I know being a single mom years back, bringing my children here, that I couldn’t afford to take them places.”

County Commissioner Jack Mariano said he’s wanted to get rid of the fees since they were first put in place nine years ago.

“All that time I did everything I could to show people how important these parks are, and how access is important, especially in times of bad economies like we were then going to go through. It was almost like we put the extra fees in place at the worst possible times," said Mariano.

The parking fees at Pasco’s nine parks brought in about $320,000 a year. But a growing property tax roll means the county has $3 million dollars more in it’s general fund.

“First thing I did is actually text the three business owners in this area as well, just to let them know. They were all ecstatic about it as well. They know it’s going to help their businesses and help the people that come in here just to come in and enjoy the park itself," said Mariano.

The free parking goes into effect October 1 if the latest budget is approved.