Parking is free at Fred Howard Park in Tarpon Springs July 4.
CLEARWATER – Parking will be free at three Pinellas County parks on Fourth of July. Commissioners unanimously approved waiving the fees during a June 24 meeting.
Free parking will be offered at Fort De Soto, Sand Key and Fred Howard parks.
Commissioner Norm Roche made the motion for free parking, which was quickly seconded by Commissioner Janet Long.
Roche wanted the free parking extended only to veterans. Since, it isn’t possible to segregate one segment of the population due to the way parking fees are collected; he suggested that Independence Day parking be free for all.
Long agreed free parking was a good way to honor veterans and suggested the measure be extended to include Memorial Day as well.
“I don’t want to play Scrooge, and I understand the concept, but I would be more comfortable if this was an agenda item,” Commissioner Ken Welch said.
He asked about the cost.
Interim County Administrator Mark Woodard said Fourth of July would be a high-attendance day with parking fee collections coming in at $80,000 to $100,000 at Fort De Soto alone.
No decision was made about parking fees on Memorial Day.
Parking fees at the county’s other beach access parks, including Indian Rocks Beach, Indian Shores/Tiki Gardens, Madeira Beach, Redington Shores and St. Pete Beach, will still be in effect.