Free Parking Could Come Back to Tybee Island To Boost Evening Business

TYBEE ISLAND, GA (WSAV) – Paying to park on Tybee Island brings in millions of dollars each year for the city. Several businesses on the island, however, believe if free parking was offered during the slower months business could pick up.

Now city leaders are weighing the option.

Sun up to sun down 365  days a year, Tybee Island visitors pay to park. One city leader is looking to change that.

“The restaurants need the relief that more people will come down from Savannah or wherever to eat in the restaurants or go to the bars or go do even some retail shopping,” says councilwoman Wanda Doyle.

Councilwoman Doyle is proposing the city look back at free parking. The idea would be for parking to be free after five in the evening during December through February.

“It’s a win win if we as a business can get customers in here, we reap the benefits and then the city reaps the benefits,” says George Spriggs a co-owner of North Beach bar and grill.

It’s benefits the city is still questioning because it’ll lose parking revenue. In the last five years, parking revenues in the winter rose on a monthly average from more than $36,000 to last years jump of more than $58,000 a month. Those numbers still smaller than the summer season that averages hundreds in thousands on monthly parking revenue.

“That parking revenue is needed but i also have to look at from, I’m very pro-business and i also have to look at it from a business standpoint,” Doyle says.

Given that most of the tourism business on Tybee is day time visitors, that affects the decision. Possibly thousands of dollars in loss revenue, but this could be a new incentive to help night life on the island during major holidays like New Years, Christmas and Valentine’s day.

“What this will incentivize is everybody from Wilmington island or in town that wants to come out and enjoy the evening on tybee and not have to worry about parking.”

Councilwoman Doyle says the city is currently crunching the numbers to get an estimated loss the new proposal could mean to parking revenues. She expects it to be brought back up in front of council next month.

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