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Free Fort Myers Beach Parking Sends Mixed Messages to Businesses, Tourists

2:31 PM, Sep 13, 2018


Chloe Nordquist

The City of Fort Myers Beach and Lee County extended free parking for beach lots until September 30 because of red tide .

The idea was to get more people down to the beach.

Free Fort Myers Beach Parking Sends Mixed Messages to Businesses, Tourists

“The beach is not really that good right now after the red tide,” Harry Young, a visitor to the beach, said. “How dare they charge $10 to park the car.”

Young appreciates the initiative by the local government.

“We’ll try free parking again — it worked out really well this morning,” Young said.

But not everyone is on board.

“It’s slow this time of year but I believe it sends the wrong message,” Jim Malcom said, a parking lot attendant.

“They show a month old picture of dead fish, dead manatees, dead sharks," Malcom continues. "And they keep showing it and showing it and showing it. And I’m here and people are swimming and coming going ‘Yeah the water’s fine.' I don’t get it why do they show that on TV?’.”

HelloSWFL talked to a few other parking lot attendants in Fort Myers Beach who said the same thing. Business was slower but it is off season — they are more concerned about whether people are going to come to the beach in the first place.

“If you keep saying that the water’s no good and parking’s free, or any other negative comment, what’s it gonna do to those people who make up a large summon of the summer tourism trade?” Malcom said.

We also asked the city about workers who check the parking meters. They said those workers are doing other duties in the meantime.


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