JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. -- Millions of dollars have been invested in the downtown business district, but the last piece of the puzzle is resolving parking.
Metered parking that is being discussed has hit a nerve.
Jacksonville Beach recently held a workshop to air out options that include metering three city owned lots. No decisions have yet been made.
Business owners say a lot rides on the outcome.
Street meters years ago were part of landscape in Jacksonville Beach before being pulled.
"It was definitely a failed experiment at that time," said Bill Stevens who owns Beachside, a store on 1st Street that features souvenirs and swim wear.
"We ended up being the blighted area. We lost almost half the businesses down here during that time," said Stevens.
"Free parking to end, contact mayor-councilmen," is what a sign reads facing a free public parking lot behind Campeche Bay.
Restaurant owner Vince McGuire said the sign reflects his concerns.
"No one would pay money, are you going to pay two dollars to come eat a two dollar burrito," said McGuire.
Mayor Charlie Latham said the city is still doing its homework with him personally exploring how other beach communities handle metered parking.
Lathem said all the talk about meters zeroes in on public safety.
"We are not doing this for money, doing this for public safety," said Latham, who expects there will be another public workshop in the next month on metered parking.
First Coast News