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New pay stations at beach park

Eighteen pay stations were installed this week at Sand Key Park.
news_pay_station.jpgReplacing the hourly metered parking, the automated pay stations will make management of parking fees consistent with other county parks and boat ramps, while enabling visitors to purchase annual passes that can be used at the countys three largest beach parks.

Visitors to Sand Key Park will now pay a one-time fee of $5 for a daylong parking pass. Annual parking passes can be purchased for $75, or $55 for those over the age of 65.

The annual parking passes can be used in any of the Pinellas County-owned parks with pay stations, which will include Fred Howard and Fort De Soto parks, where the $5 fee is expected to go into effect in the beginning of 2012. In addition, annual parking passes for county-owned boat ramps apply in the three parks. The boat ramp annual permits are $110 per year.

The pay stations will be more convenient for visitors to the beach parks, said Paul Cozzie, director of Parks and Conservation Resources. Instead of worrying about putting enough change in the meters throughout the day, they can pay one time. We hope this will make their visit more enjoyable.

The fees will be used for enhancements to the countys parks and maintenance of the grounds and facilities. Fees will also supplement the cost of providing lifeguards.

Sand Key Park is a 95-acre beach park that features concessions, lifeguards, beach wheelchairs outdoor showers, bath houses, restrooms, a playground, shelters and grills. Kayak and bicycle rentals are available, and a dog park as well.

The automated pay stations accept cash, credit and coins. Annual parking passes are available at the Fort De Soto administrative office and  the Parks and Conservation Resources office, 12520 Ulmerton Road, Largo.
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