Not that I think my voice matters anymore on this subject – but I do not support the concept of free beaches and will not contribute to the fund as solicited [by a city email]. I also think charging for parking on the beach streets is a terrible idea unless the real reason is that it will certainly lead to a great deal many parking tickets, i.e. revenue.
But it will also further discourage non-Evanston residents to come to our town, patronize stores and restaurants, especially given the two-hour only limited [street] parking downtown and NO DIRECTION anywhere to the garages for longer term parking. (When I was still working on Grove Street, I had a parking permit for the lot under the Holiday Inn Hotel – just about once a week someone from not in town asked where they could park for longer than two hours. I have made myriad suggestions to the city, with support from the Traffic Guy when still at the RoundTable, to have info on the pay stations [about] the garages with no success.)
Back to the beaches … it is correct that no other park in Evanston charges a fee – but no other park in town has lifeguards, is cleaned (almost) daily, has water rescue operations and more services that require paid staff. I could (and would financially) support the effort to reduce the income level to give free beach passes to Evanston residents to make them be able to go to the beach. But I also strongly believe that the vast majority of residents can easily afford the season pass or pay the daily admission.
I know this email won’t make a difference, but I had to get it off my chest, especially given the city’s solicitation [of donations to support free beaches].