Neighbors living across from the Seminole Hard Rock Tampa are going all in in a fight over parking.
People in the East Lake subdivision tell 10News WTSP that since the casino started charging patrons $10 to park in August, it’s driving problems onto their streets.
“They get so much money off of them why charge them to park,” says neighbor Stacey Gray. Gray believes the Hard Rock is rolling the dice by putting profits over her kids' safety.
“It is dangerous having to go up and down the street and around the cars,” says Gray.
“We don't need them coming over here to park. This is for the residents,” says neighbor Joanne O’Brien.
O'Brien says patrons are now flooding the East Lake subdivision, so they don't have to pay for casino garage parking, but are blocking driveways, parking on yards, and too close to intersections.
“They are blocking the view, and it becomes a dangerous situation. A patron from the casino was walking down and relieving himself on the telephone pole -- that's a quality-of-life issue. We don't need that,” says O’Brien.
Neighbors have put up no parking signs and even put warnings on violators' cars.
“It's a public street. If there were signs that said it, I would abide by it,” says Hard Rock customer Kim Gerlich.
Gerlich refuses to fork over the $10 parking fee, but says last week she parked in the neighborhood and her car got vandalized. “We came out and there was like brake fluid or oil on our windows and on our side. We couldn’t even see to drive. I had to put the window down. It was really unsafe,” says Gerlich. “I think there should be some sort of validation and that would alleviate a lot of the problems,” Gerlich says.
O'Brien's solution? She wants the County Commission to close off the street with a wall separating the neighborhood from the casino. “Close the street and have a walk-through gate for residents. Maybe we can eliminate some of this problem,” says O’Brien.
A Hard Rock spokesperson tells 10News that they're not going to gamble when it comes to keeping neighbors happy. Seminole spokesperson Gary Bitner says they’re willing to work with neighbors – as they always have -- casino security, and the sheriff's office to make this a win-win for everyone.
O'Brien hopes to get at least half the 325 neighbors to sign a petition to close the street and will go before the county commission in the coming weeks.