NewsTreasure CoastRegion St Lucie CountyFort Pierce


Downtown Fort Pierce patrons may soon have to pay to park

Business owners hope paid parking will increase turnover and foot traffic
Posted at 11:38 PM, Feb 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-03 23:43:18-05

FORT PIERCE, Fla. — Those who decide to visit downtown Fort Pierce may soon have to pay for premium parking spots.

After a new study, business owner there say it would help increase turnover and get more customers through the door during these tough times.

"Our number one problem down here hands down has always been parking," said Julian Hewatt, owner of Hard Axe Lounge. "We have people that will park in these spaces all day long and they necessarily won't park in front of the space they're going to."

The proposal, put together by Walker Consulting, which was hired by the city to formulate a study, recommends charging drivers $2 per hour for parallel street parking.

Off the street lots would cost $1 per hour.

"We really do a have a lot of great, one-of-a-kind businesses for people to explore and find out about," said Hewatt.

The proposal recommends both single and multi-space parking meters.

Drivers would have to pay with a debit or credit card or use a mobile app and be charged a convenience fee.

Cash would not be accepted as a form of payment.

"Whatever they have to do, they need to make it easy," said resident Mary Langer.

Langer said she would pay the fee for a closer space instead of parking in one of the city's free parking garages nearby.

"I have been negatively impacted as others have, so I don't know how it would impact the neighborhood," said Langer.

The proposal also recommends raising the fine to ensure more compliance from drivers.

Event parking for on street would cost $6.

Side lot parking for events would cost $4.

"We have really been driving really hard to basically turn downtown into a walking community," said Hewatt.

Hewatt said he hopes all businesses will benefit if the change is implemented.

"I think that everyone in terms of businesses and business owners are just in survival mode at this point and anything that's going to help us move forward down this path is definitely a No. 1 benefit," said Hewatt.

WPTV has contacted the city for comment on when the matter will be decided.