Partnership with Flowbird Smart Parking System Proves Lucrative
The City of Muskegon, Michigan has reported it’s gross parking revenue to be more than double what it anticipated from new Flowbird kiosks at Pere Marquette Park. City officials estimated the kiosks would bring in about $120,000 this summer, but the result was vastly greater – even during Covid era.
The City partnered with Flowbird Group in May of this year to implement a smart paid-parking program. The new system included 20 new StradaPAL pay stations that would aid in a more streamlined parking process during the busy summer months, while generating revenue for the ongoing beach maintenance costs.
City officials estimated the kiosks would bring in about $120,000 this summer.
“We generated over $200,000 in the first month of the summer and nearly half a million throughout the entirety of the summer,” said City Manager Frank Peterson of the parking sales.
Peterson says the total maintenance budget for city parks is $1.8 million. He says the revenue from the Pere Marquette kiosks accounts for about 24% of the total maintenance budget.
Among the goals of the new parking system, the City needed to level out how much resident taxpayers were paying for park maintenance versus visitors. It was discovered that those who used the beach most, out-of-towners, were not paying taxes to maintain the beaches as residents footed most of the bill. By implementing paid visitor parking via Flowbird’s StradaPAL pay stations, those who used the beach most contributed equally to beach nourishment. City residents received a free parking pass to use when they visited the beach.
The City proudly confirms that despite concerns that the kiosks would bring fewer visitors, the beach was packed for much of the summer. Portions of those parking fees went straight towards beach maintenance and residents of the city have remained free of charge.
“Even with the coronavirus, even with social distancing, even with people out of employment, it was still an affordable, easy, fun place to take your family and it shows that the community, by and large, supported it,” said Peterson.
The city plans to use the money generated from the kiosks to pay for routine maintenance and improvements at Pere Marquette Park. They say with the excess of revenue, there will likely be funds for improvements at other city parks, too.
“We spent so much time and money keeping Pere Marquette Park in tiptop shape because we knew that’s where everybody was. In a lot of ways, we did it to the detriment of the parks that were spread throughout the community, the ones that the average citizens used every single day,” said Peterson. “At the very minimum, what this will do is free up money so that those parks can have better attention paid to them.”
17 Flowbird StradaPAL were installed along Pere Marquette beach, including the Kruse Dog Park and Harbour Town Park on Muskegon Lake. Three additional pay stations have been installed along various boat launches, including Grand Trunk, Fisherman’s Landing and Jaycees boat launches.
The Flowbird pay stations are known for their resilience to hold up against varying outdoor conditions – including direct sun and sand that generally come from coastal areas. Each pay station is solar-powered and user-friendly with a large color screen and customized interface. Paid parking will continue through the end of September. The city is expecting another big weekend of profits for Labor Day.