Locals are celebrating the last weekend of free winter parking with a beach party Saturday at 11 a.m. at 38th Avenue North, and are inviting city and county council members to join them for a glimpse of the tax dollars they say won’t be back in the city until November.
The party is organized by Make Myrtle Beaches, Free, Clean, and Safe, a group of county residents that boasts more than 3,000 Facebook followers who oppose the parking fee structure imposed by the Myrtle Beach City Council last year.
“We want to show just how difficult the parking situation is on 200,000 of the city’s best customers, best neighbors and nearest neighbors,” said Rich Malzone, the group’s spokesman.
“All we want is for the city to recognize we are not tourists, but locals, and most of us have Myrtle Beach addresses,” Malzone said.
The parking fees imposed last year along all city beaches except for those who pay a Myrtle Beach car tax sparked a countywide backlash with many locals threatening to boycott beach events as well as shopping and dining in the city limits.
The city council recently approved a $100 parking decal that anyone can purchase for parking in limited areas, and excluded the street-end lots along the Golden Mile used by many county locals.
This weekend’s beach party is the last time for locals living outside the city limits who purchased the $100 decals to park along the Golden Mile, Malzone said.
“All we are asking is that if we buy a decal for $100, that we get to park in any paid parking spot that a city resident gets to park in for free,” Malzone said.
“We would love for the city council to show up, and that’s why we’re sending them an invitation today. We wish they would contact us and ask us to sit down and say ‘let’s end this, let’s be neighbors,’” Malzone said.