Clearwater Beach, Florida - Clearwater Beach has been voted Florida's best beach town.
It's a popular destination spot for tourists and locals alike. But for many of the hardworking employees who cook, serve and clean up the hotel rooms along the beach just getting to the job is becoming a huge challenge.
Finding a place to park out at Clearwater Beach is already tight most days, but during the busy season starting on February 14 through the middle of April, it really becomes difficult- especially for those trying to make a living in the area.
Elizabeth Makowski says she and her co-workers at Frenchy's Rockaway Grill continue to see free parking spots converted to metered spots. The parking lot right in front of their restaurant is a pay lot, and employee's are banned from parking there anyway.
"When I first started parking was plentiful and it was never an issue," said Makowski.
She said it's the workers who make Clearwater Beach a fun place to visit.
"We're the ones who should be given a break on the parking. We make this beach what it is. We bring back the customers and we keep them coming back."
But the struggle to find a place to park every day and pay for it too, isn't easy.
"We cannot leave in the middle of our shifts to go re-up on a meter or re-up on a pay station," said Makowski.
Breaking the rules and getting a ticket means facing an even higher cost.
We talked to Joelle Castelli, a spokeswoman with the City of Clearwater, and she said millions of dollars are generated from the meters and pay lots, and that most of the money comes from tourists and not workers.
"We're talking about millions of dollars. 365 days of lifeguards is paid for by the parking fund, as well as every single morning they rake the beach."
Makowski told 10 News the city's solution of having beach employees shell out $40 dollars a month for a parking permit isn't the answer either, at $480 bucks a year.
"We can't afford that," Makowski said.
She's circulating a petition now- asking other people who work along Clearwater Beach to join her in asking city leaders to give them a break.
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Tammie Fields, 10 News