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Thursday, October 15, 2009 - 11:02am

It's Still Free To Park on St. Simons Island... For Now

Residents and visitors to St. Simons Island are getting a year's reprieve from an idea to charge for parking on Georgia's only beach island with free parking.

While recent years have seen parking rates increase on both Tybee and Jekyll Islands, St. Simons has kept its parking free.

This year, though, that long-standing pratice almost came to a familiar-sounding end.

Glynn County needed to fix a sagging budget and proposed a parking fee that would've raised about a half million dollars.

County Commissioner Tom Sublett says, the idea's being put away for now because of the slump in island business.

"The feedback we got from the village merchants was especially strong because most of their business is down and they felt that a parking fee may keep people from coming," Sublett says.

Commissioners want to see how a new water park will affect parking and whether the budget situation will improve.

Commissioners will study the parking fee idea on St. Simons Island again after next summer's tourist season.