by: Bill Jones ~ St. Augustine Beach Civic Association

For the last year we’ve heard both the City and County talk about the addition of parking meters in Pier Park and in other public parking areas in our community. Both bodies talk a lot about how much revenue will be generated. What we’ve not heard much talk about is a real solution to parking shortage that has existed for years. The Civic Association with the help of City of SAB Public Works Director Joe Howell identified a County owned Right of Way on the north side of Pope Road between the Boulevard and the YMCA. There is space for approximately 65 parking spaces. If pavers are used the spaces could be available within 45 days and the City & County could also meter them to get their money back. With the opening of the Embassy Suites and coming soon, these spaces cold be utilized by their employees, meeting guests and employees of other restaurants nearby. This could be a first step that will ease the pain a little while more planning is done to find solutions that could include a parking garage and a shuttle that runs in season to move people up and down the boulevard. We pointed this option out to the County Commissioners during Public Comment at meetings in January and February. The result was not what we expected. Instead of pavers and new parking spaces what we received were more than $1000 worth of new No Parking signs.

Over the last couple of months, we have heard our Mayor and City Commission talk about parking meters and what App to use to collect the money. What we haven’t seen was a survey of the community to see what residents and local businesses think about meters. The Civic Association has received calls and emails asking for our position on all of this. We have always been a group that tries to check the pulse of the community. In 2013 we were talking about parking, public transportation and how to find solutions. We put forth a survey and got your feedback. That’s what we’re doing again on June 1st. Those of you already on our email list will receive an invitation to submit your opinion. If you’re not on our list you can visit our website at www.sabca.org and complete a survey. The survey will accept only one response per email address. Please share your thoughts and offer ideas for solutions so we can put them in front of the City & County Commissioners soon.

No Concert or Market on July 4

After a rain out in week one, Music by the Sea got off to an exceptional start with a crown of 1200 plus for our 80’s night with the band Slang. Thank to everyone who came out and enjoyed an evening of 80’s classics and some tasty BBQ from Scoo-B-Q Catering. We encourage patrons to use the free park, ride and dance shuttle that runs from City Hall & Ron Parker Park starting at 5:45 PM and runs continuously throughout the evening. The shuttle is made possible by The Friends of Scenic A1A Historic Byway, Bill McClure and The Civic Association.

July 4th Notice – Because of the large crowds and high demand for parking anticipated over the July 4th holiday, we will not have a MBTS concert or Wednesday Market on July 4th. Bothe vents will return on Wednesday July 11th. The entire 2018 MBTS Schedule can be found on our website at www.freebeachconcerts.com.