DUNEDIN (FOX 13) - After years of complaints from business owners and visitors, Dunedin city commissioners voted to make downtown parking free.
"Everyone was bitter about it," said Dion Falzon, a local restaurant owner. "And it really was a big deal."
The paid parking dilemma started three years ago when meters were installed.
Back then, city officials said the meters would help with turnover and prevent drivers from hogging a spot for an indefinite amount of time. They also created a separate revenue stream to pay for a public garage.
But the criticism against the meters grew throughout the years until city commissioners decided to do away with the program at a city meeting August 23.
"It was just really tough to accept that you have to pay for parking," said Falzon.
Visitors said it's a relief.
"When it's free parking you're not rushed to come in and out," said Danielle Clark, who was visiting from New Jersey, "you can stay and relax."