WILMINGTON, N.C. -- The town of Wrightsville Beach is discussing a $0.50 hike in their parking prices. That would take prices from $2.50 to $3.00 an hour. Some businesses and folks in the area are wondering where is the money going.

  • Funding expected to go back towards police protection, fire protection and park rangers.
  • Businesses are concerned about how raising parking fees are going to protect them in their busy season.
  • They're hoping an hourly meter increase will be profitable and help continue to grow services for the town.

Town manager, Tim Owens assures it is going to a good place.

"All of the funding goes back towards police protection, fire protection, park rangers. We are looking to introduce a new park ranger, you know, to keep the crowds controlled. We are also looking into potentially upgrading infrastructure of our restroom facilities at some point," he said.

Owens also says "I get that it is hard earned money but you know I think that we have a pretty good product for a pretty good value."

Even though Owens says this is to make improvements to the beach and pay its workers, businesses in the area are concerned about how raising parking fees are going to protect them in their busy season.

Sheldon Goodwin, manager at Sweetwater Surf Shop on Wrightsville Beach says, "it is hard for businesses, especially the restaurants and bars down here because any shopping down here you are going to spend $50-$100 and then $15 for parking."

Goodwin also says the frustration just is not from the businesses, but visitors as well. 

"Eventually you are going to start to lose people down here and maybe it's this year with $3 parking and it is going to turn enough people away and they are going to find somewhere else to go," Goodwin said.

Last year the town raised the daily parking rate, now they are hoping an hourly meter increase will be profitable and help continue to grow services for the town.

Owens says the board is expected to make a final decision sometime next week.