Those 10 parking spaces visitors to the crowded Coligny Beach Park have been drooling over will be available today, town officials say.
The Hilton Head Island Fire & Rescue Division had reserved them while it uses the old Smokehouse restaurant near Coligny Circle as a temporary fire station. The town received a complaint about the spaces going unused while beachgoers circle a filled parking lot and decided to open the slots.
"We decided there are a few more parking spaces marked off than we need and will relieve 10 of those spaces for the public," said Fire Chief Lavarn Lucas. "We moved in during the off-season, and parking was not an issue. Now, we're in the summertime and there's more people on the island, and parking is an issue. We'll do what we can to help relieve some of the problem."
The town converted the former restaurant on Pope Avenue in August for fire staff while a new station is built at Shipyard Plantation. The new station will replace Fire Station No. 1 at 70 Cordillo Parkway, built in the 1960s by the now-defunct Sea Pines Forest Beach Fire Department.
A small unpaved area beside the old Smokehouse where parking is not allowed will remain roped off, said town facilities manager Julian Walls.
"When it's busy this time of year, it doesn't take long for the Coligny Beach Park to fill up, but there are other options," Walls said.
There are 23 metered spaces down the road at Alder Lane, off South Forest Beach Drive. The town has 54 metered spaces at Folly Field Road and 13 metered spaces at Burkes Beach Road. The parking fee for metered spaces is a quarter for 15 minutes.
Additionally, there are 207 spaces at Driessen Beach Park for long-term parking. The fee is a quarter for 30 minutes during the week.
Parking is free at Fish Haul Park, Mitchelville Park and Coligny Beach Park. Handicapped parking is available at no fee at all beach parks.
Follow reporter Tom Barton at twitter.com/EyeOnHiltonHead.