City of Des Moines considering fee to park at Marina; hearings in January

The City of Des Moines announced on its website that it is considering charging a fee to park at the Marina.

The City is porposing to utilize a “pay‐by‐space” system with eight pay stations located throughout the facility. The plan calls for three pay stations to cover the South Marina and South Marina Park lots, one pay station in the Marina’s central lot, two pay stations in the North Lot of the Marina and two pay stations in the Beach Park. Each pay station will have an all‐weather shelter over it to protect the machine and users during inclement weather.

Each parking space in the parking lots will be numbered and that number will be used by parking customers to purchase a permit at the pay stations. The parking permit showing the expiration date and time will be displayed face‐up on the customer’s vehicle.

Annual parking permits will be issued to Marina moorage tenants.

The City is proposing a rate schedule similar to the one adopted for the Redondo Boat Launch Facility. Those rates are:

  • 1 hour: $1.00
  • 2 hours: $2.25
  • 3 hours: $3.50
  • 4 hours: 5.00
  • 5 hours: $6.50
  • All Day: $8.00
  • Annual Pass: $140.00

“At the Redondo Facility the ‘per hour’ rate increases as the hour’s parked increase,” reads an announcement. “This is done by design because it encourages turn‐over of the limited number of parking spaces. (The rates for the Marina and Beach Park have not approved yet and may differ from those shown above.)”

Two public hearings will be held to gather public feedback:

  • January 16, 6:00pm -7:00pm Des Moines City Hall Council Chambers, 21630 11th Ave. S.
  • January 28, 11:30am- noon at Des Moines Senior Activity Center, 2045 S. 216th St.

Here’s more from the city’s announcement:

Waterfront Improvements and Operational Changes Contemplated at the Marina and Beach Park in Spring 2014

Have you ever wondered how the City of Des Moines is able to make improvements to the Marina and Beach Park facilities and provide services for public use in a tough economic environment? For the short term, the City has met this challenge by reducing staffing levels, deferring operating and maintenance resources, improving efficiencies and by increasing user fees. With the growing use of the facilities, a long term solution is needed to continue and sustain waterfront operations.

The Des Moines Beach Park’s historic Auditorium has been rehabilitated with the help of state capital funds and is now a thriving rental venue to events of up to 500 attendees. Rental fees are charged to the users to cover the direct and overhead costs of the use. The historic Dining Hall will be rehabilitated this year also with the help of state capital funding and will be available for event rentals of up to 200 attendees. Rental fees are now being implemented for the use all waterfront venues.

Numerous free and low cost activities will continue in the Beach Park such as beachcombing, picnicking, summer concerts, outdoor movies, community events and water sports. The park provides access to the Des Moines Creek Trail making it your family friendly place to go for gatherings of all types.

The Marina’s newly completed bulkhead, promenade and parking lot improvements are enjoyed by thousands of users on a daily basis. Boaters, fishermen, walkers, cyclists and Farmers Market shoppers as well as their vehicles all converge at the Marina as the community meeting place.

The Marina has businesses and tenants that generate revenues that pay their way. The many waterfront recreational activities and special events are very important because they create a tourism destination and provide enjoyment to our citizens and visitors. These uses are not helping to cover the cost to maintain and improve these facilities. The long term solution to the preservation of the Marina and Beach Park is to create a revenue stream that will fund the improvements and services our citizens have told us are important:

  • safety and security improvements to reduce vandalism and illegal behaviors occurring in the facilities
  • renovation of the aging Beach Park and Marina facilities to include: restrooms, bulkheads, walkways, beach access, historic building repairs and play area
  • support for community special events

This spring, the city is considering implementing a paid parking and parking permit system for Marina and Beach Park parking lots. Pay stations would be placed conveniently in the Marina’s south, central and north parking lots and in the front and back Beach Park lots. A fee schedule would be designed to accommodate the needs of the various users of the facilities.

We want to hear from you! Please attend one of the following information sharing and comment sessions:

  • January 16, 6:00pm -7:00pm Des Moines City Hall Council Chambers, 21630 11th Ave. S.
  • January 28, 11:30am- noon at Des Moines Senior Activity Center, 2045 S. 216th St.


22 Responses to “City of Des Moines considering fee to park at Marina; hearings in January”
  1. Brett says:

    If the revenue goes towards reconstruction of a nice play area/park for kids then I’m all for it. That has been sorely missing from that area and in general Des Moines suffers from a dearth of awesome parks.

  2. Nick says:

    So long as it is enforced and affordable I have no problem with paying for a place that I enjoy using. I do however think $140 is EXTREMELY steep for an Annual Pass. I can go to all State Parks for only $30 a year. Typically if I park in the lot, it’s for an hour at most so I can run the creek trail. I have no problem paying $.25 for an hour, but $1 an hour gets a little expensive as time goes by.

    Also, when events are happening, such as the Farmer’s Market, Movies, Concerts, etc the parking fee should be waived.

  3. Katie says:

    My grandma lives in Des Moines and goes to the marina on a daily basis for a walk and socialization. I really hope that the city is considering lower fees for seniors and people with disabilities who are on fixed incomes and people with lower incomes. Even at $1/hr it can get expensive pretty quick for people living on limited incomes. And finding $140 for a one time yearly payment can be really difficult as well.

  4. WJ says:

    NO!!! There’s barely any parking at the Des Moines Beach Park. Quite often, all I want to do is take a 20 minute stroll along the Fisherman’s Pier, or spend maybe half an hour at the Farmer’s Market. I can’t spend money on this!!! Free recreation is all that’s left to me, and now the powers that be want to take it away? Thumbs down!

  5. Phil says:

    I saw the boards explaining some of this down in the Marina area this week. It made NO SENSE at ALL to the 6 of us adults that were walking together down there! Put down 6 voting adult Des Moines condo owners as “VERY AGAINST!!” I don’t even want to go into all my reasons for it being total nonsense.

    INSTEAD, please give us all JUST ONE GOOD reason that would justify doing this!? This brings to mind other “great” DM money making ideas. Remember charging admission AND parking fees for the “Waterland Festival”? Do you even remember the festival? What is the DRAW that would make ANYONE want to PAY just to park down there?? I’m very serious. What are you thinking?

    PLEASE go up on Marine View Drive and do some brainstorming about the terrible EMPTINESS of the whole downtown corridor! Put your thoughts and efforts there. Fix that problem and the money to run your government WILL follow!

    • John Riley says:

      Totally agree on the Marine View Drive upgrades. Work to bring in a vendor for the movie house. IPIC in Redmond. Bring in those folks or something similar. Take the family to the marina, kids to the arcade or TagZone or something else. Meetup after and go to dinner along the Drive… Sounds good. Now city make it happen.

      No reason we cannot get more services in that area. Somehow our city is missing out on the economic boom we are told is happening.

  6. Kerry says:

    As a marina tenant of nearly 20 years and non-Des Moines resident, I’m tired of the City’s exploitation of marina tenants.

    Yet again, we’re being used—it’s the marina tenants’ guests and families who will have to pay for parking. This after we tenants have already paid ridiculous moorage rates.

    Parking fees are punitive and will only empty your already-suffering marina and “downtown” area.

  7. Riley says:

    I have to say as a resident, I would be less inclined to go to the marina. The fees seem kind of high, especially the yearly pass. The state parks system pass is only $30 dollars for a year.

  8. Steve says:

    I am a marina tenant that participates in the local sailboat racing program.
    If my crewmembers and guests are forced to pay a parking fee, I will strongly consider
    moving my boat to another marina.

  9. WJ says:

    Forgot to mention – sometimes I only want as little as ten minutes to enjoy the sunset.

    So this will probably kill the wonderful Farmer’s Market that the community has worked so hard to build up.

  10. dj says:

    When money was tight and our 36 and 38 year old kids were toddlers, the Marina and Salt Water Park were the only affordable outings we had. Sometimes we would bring food and stay all day. I am sure that is the case with families now and I think it’s a shame that these places for healthy family outings are being taken away. Is it the goal. to exclude the poor from our shoreline and public places? As a volunteer at the farmers market and not being able to walk any distance; if I had to pay to park, it would impact my volunteering. Who is stepping up to take my place? There has to be another source of revenue besides this and ticket cameras.

  11. Dan Kennedy says:

    Here is a little Economics 101 for you:

    If Government wants MORE of something, they subsidize it.

    If Government wants LESS of something, they tax it.

    Apparently, Mayor Kaplan and council-folk Melissa Musser and Bob Sheckler want LESS visitors to our fair city and businesses, (or are Anti-car like Seattle). Otherwise, they would not be considering this proposal by City Manager Tony Piasecki.

    Keep this in mind next time these people tell you how “business-friendly” they really are…

  12. Dan Kennedy says:

    LOL. Looks like Everyone on the City Council disliked my comment. I wonder why???

  13. littledearone says:

    No on paid parking at the Marina and Des Moines Beach Park. [we still call it Covenant Beach Park though — the original name!]

    My ancestors have been in DM since the 1800’s and our family has certainly seen Waterland go through some up and downs. In my 47 years this is the worst I’ve seen — downtown is scraggly and sad. Paid parking will severely impact the low income folks who want to enjoy — economic diversity is an important part of any thriving community. Des Moines and the good things it has to offer should not just be for the wealthy!

    A great personal concern on the issue is how it would affect Farmers Market attendance. Our Market is one of the best in the state! I know because my husband — PK Dwyer — performs at Farmers Markets all over Washington including our own fabulous Market. This is how we make our living so if attendance goes down significantly this affects our livelihood.

    I do not understand our Mayor or City Council. Put your efforts into improving downtown. A start would be recruiting some independent businesses, better restaurants, and a Grocery Store!

  14. Catinhat says:

    My concern is for 6th Ave S. There is already limited parking for people who live and visit the apartments and condos. If this passes, residents and their guests will have to compete for street parking with the people who don’t want to pay the fee.

  15. James Sharkey says:

    I just heard about the possibility of charging for parking at the Marina. I am sorry to hear that this is a consideration. It is a wonderful place for families to get outside and exercise without a cost penalty. I am a senior and I enjoy walking the trail. I am not in favor of charging for use of the area. Please reconsider. I agree that there is much to be done to enhance DesMoines , but charging to use the one spot that is enjoyed by so many families of all ages and economic levels would be a disgrace and burden to the young and old alike.

    • Scott says:

      I travel all up and down the west coast. I am originally from Des Moines, and not one place, small town or anywhere EXCEPT Dead Moines charges a fee to enter their marina.
      What type of communists have taken over city hall? Whomever determined to charge to enter the marina needs psychiatric counseling!
      I remember when they put the fishing dock in, and it encouraged people to use the marina — now the city council acts like it is their own personal property and think so highly of themselves they charge a fee!
      Why don’t you idiots charge to drive thru the town or even set foot in it?
      I went there today and saw the stupid gates blocking access and looked up this topic, and in disbelief see access is restricted!
      Unbelievable is what this is!!

      • Pat Nardo says:

        Well, I too, have seen the “bad side: of paid parking and wish for some adjustment. On our way about, we waited a few minutes behind a car that had three foreigners, who did not understand how to get out. Seeing they were black, I was sure no one would help somehow. Trying to speak with one, told me they lacked English proficiency. So, to expedite and ease their discomfort, I swiped my pass and released their car. Then, my pass no longer worked to le ME out! A good Samaritan came to my aid and helped me push the right buttons, which ended with me paying $5.00 for “lost ticket”, I do find this grossly unfair and hope our city leaders will look into a “better way” here. We remain a friend of our City of Des Moines, and this is not a complaint, just an observation..

  16. Jane S says:

    I am a regular at the farmer’s market but will no longer go if there is paid parking.

  17. DT says:

    I have mixed feelings about this proposal. While I understand the need for an increased revenue stream in order to maintain/improve the Marina and Beach Park facilities, I am skeptical that a parking fee is the right choice. This skepticism is due to the following concerns:
    1) Parking fees may force cars away from Marina and Beach Park areas onto the neighboring streets.
    2) Parking fees may encourage current users to walk, shop, boat and dine elsewhere.
    3) Less activity in the Marina and Beach Park may contribute to an already existing reputation of Des Moines being a “dying city.”
    4) Parking fees seem discriminatory towards the current frequent users who tend to have lower incomes, i.e., young families and seniors.

    I would be very interested in seeing any economic impact and price elasticity studies that the City of DM or its consultants have prepared. Without this type of data, I suggest we should all be skeptical of this proposed revenue stream.

  18. Abel Cortinas says:

    Please remember city council you will be running for re-election…..this paid parking is an outrage. My wife and I have lived in Des Moines for 25 years and we take our dogs to the marina and beach park every day. This would put a stop to that.
    PLEASE reconsider!!

  19. john says:

    Went to the pier and thought I could just park for free. I have not been there in a while and was just out for a walk on the pier with my wife after eating lunch at one of the local places. When saw the paid parking so we went drove south toward the marina and found free handicap parking next to the bank and at least a 1/4 mile from the pier. I guess nothing is free these days even for us seniors. Unless it’s far away. At least in Des Moines.

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