I'm a resident of Myrtle Beach and over the years have watched parking meters and pay stations put in place and taken down like clockwork. I get excited when they are installed because it's a sure sign spring is around the corner.
When they are removed, it's a sign summer is definitely over.
I am a beach lover and have visited beaches from Toms' River in New Jersey to Florida. I've also visited some fantastic beaches in California. Paying to park at a beach is as common as hearing the surf hit the shore, though some fees seem extremely high.
Unfortunately, many people do not treat the beach with respect. While walking my dogs, I pick up more trash than you can imagine. How lazy of people to not walk the short distance to the trash cans.
College kids complaining about the parking fee might be the worst of all. The underage drinking and resulting vomiting are not attractive. I once saw a group dig a hole in the sand large enough to “hide” their oversized cooler filled with beer. I thought it hilarious when the police went straight to their hidden treasure and made them pour out the beer one bottle and can at a time.
I shake my head in disgust thinking about the wildlife suffering because of the trash they ingest. I’ve watched tourists leave their purchased beach toys, chairs, and umbrellas on the sand on a Friday or Saturday night because they can’t take it on the plane. I often wonder if they would be happy if people left trash on their front or back lawns.
Though I know parking fees don't pay for clean-up, paying the price to use the beach makes sense. For city residents, our taxes pay the employees who are responsible for keeping the beach looking great. And the trash and recycling cans are not donated to the city. We also pay for the large equipment used to sweep the beach every morning, as well as the salaries of the hard-working public works employees. There are many other costs to keeping the beach clean so we all can enjoy it.
For me to receive a parking sticker, I have to pay city taxes to the tune of almost $500 in a year. The offer for county residents to purchase a sticker for $100 is a gift. I wish that were all I had to pay for parking for free.
It does perplex me that the “Golden Mile” was exempt from meters and pay stations in the first place. Is that area considered more elitist than anywhere else in the city? I have news for those residents. You are not more valuable than others in the city. It’s about time all streets in the city conform to the same rules, laws, expectations and contributions.
By the way, as a city resident, I pay a much higher price for auto and homeowner's insurance and the like. I’ve been told it's because I live in a tourist town and am so close to the beach. I'm not complaining. I love where I live.
For those who opted to live outside of city limits, you should accept financial consequences as well. It's the price you pay for choosing where to live.
The writer lives in Myrtle Beach.