MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — The City of Myrtle Beach is on track to have a record year for parking meter revenue, according to data provided to News13 by the city.
In downtown Myrtle Beach, there is always something to do — from eating at the restaurants, checking out the attractions, or going to the beach. But to get there requires parking and paying at the parking meters.
“Currently we’re maintaining and enforcing 2,400 spaces from end to end of the city,” said Brian Schmitt, executive assistant of downtown development.
City officials say the parking meters in busy areas like along 9th and 8th Avenue generate a lot of revenue. With the city seeing record tourism numbers over the past few months, they’re also seeing record parking meter revenue.
“In 2019, we exceed 2018 numbers,” Schmitt said. “In 2020, we would’ve exceeded 2019 numbers. So we see that percentage growth. For 2021, we’re beyond what we thought we would be, what a normal year should be.”
Schmitt said he thinks the increase is due to everyone coming back to the beach after last year was a down year due to the pandemic.
“Hotels are full, parking meters are full, restaurants are turning people away at the door and that’s a good problem to have,” he said.
In March 2019, parking meters generated $117,000 in revenue, according to the city. In March 2021, they generated $168,000.
In April 2019, parking meters generated $212,000, but in April 2021, that number was up to $299,000.
“We are experiencing meter revenue that we probably wouldn’t have experienced till the month after,” said Karen Riordan, president and CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce. “In May, we’re doing June — almost July numbers — so we expect come June, that we’ll have a banner June, who knows what’ll happen in July.”
Where does all the money go?
Every time someone puts money into a parking meter, it’s making an investment into developing downtown Myrtle Beach.
“The city’s always pledged parking meter revenue to go back into downtown improvements,” Schmitt said. “So when folks come back year over year, they’re seeing their marking meter money go back into projects or initiatives to enhance downtown whether that be beautification, infrastructure.”
“Right now the city is following a downtown master plan,” Schmitt said. “That plan was adopted by council in early 2019. Since then we have expanded and built our master plan with the arts and innovation district.”
City spokesperson Mark Kruea said revenue for May 2021 was budgeted based off of May 2019 rather than May 2020, when it’s typically based off the year prior. He said May 2021 parking revenue was 36% above what was budgeted.