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Hollywood Beach officials unbothered by Miami Beach strictures

Area cities unbothered by Miami Beach Spring Break measures
Area cities unbothered by Miami Beach Spring Break measures 02:39

HOLLYWOOD - College kids are already making their way to Fort Lauderdale Beach. And in Hollywood, locals and retirees are getting their spot on the sand. 

The question now, with Miami Beach breaking up with spring break after years of problems — will the crowds move north?

"We feel that that crowd will probably migrate more toward other party areas in Miami, like Wynwood and so forth. I don't really see a lot of that coming up to Fort Lauderdale," said Mayor Dean Trantalis. 

In Hollywood, Mayor Josh Levy said, "We are more of a local beach destination, a lot of snowbirds and families. I don't see the spring breakers ever really thinking about Hollywood Beach as their spot, we're not a party beach," he said.

Both Mayors Levy and Trantalis don't expect trouble saying the vibe at their beaches is very different than South Beach.  But each city plans strict enforcement of the rules and will have stepped up police presence like during every spring break. 

"We have scenarios in place in case there are situations where it gets out of hand. Our police department is ramping up enforcement and we'll see more and more of that as the weeks progress," Mayor Trantalis said.

Both Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood are considering options to jack up parking rates to $100 at city garages like Miami Beach initially planned. In Fort Lauderdale, the city manager can use his discretion to increase parking rates to control overcrowding. Hollywood is still debating it. It will go before the city commission on March 6th. 

Keith Arvay has worked on Hollywood Beach for more than 20 years. Talking about South Beach, he said, "That's a different crowd. The people leave at midnight to go to South Beach. No one's leaving at midnight to come here, everything's closed," he said. 

Bob Ferro owns Nick's Bar on the Broadwalk. "With this South Beach thing I think we're going to get a lot of people," Ferro said. 

He thinks Hollywood will see more spring breakers, but like the mayor, isn't expecting any problems. 

"I think it will be all right, I think it will be fine," he said. 

The Miami Beach City Commission continues to take strong measures regarding Spring Break because of the unruly crowds of the past. 

They were nearly unanimous in their latest decision, as they voted five to one, to shut down four parking garages in South Beach. 

Parking garages will be shut down to visitors on the weekend of March 7th through the 10th and from March 14th through the 17th. 

The garages affected are at 7th Street and 13th Street, Collins Avenue at 12th Street, Washington Avenue and 16th Street between Collins Avenue and Washington Avenue. 

Garages will be open for employees and residents. 

Commissioners said they were sending a message and there were strong words from Commissioner David Suarez. 

"We really mean it this time. We are not taking half-measures. We really are doing everything we can to end Spring Break, especially during those 2 weekends of March. The more extreme the shutdown the more attention we are going to have and the word is going to get out that it is over."

That decision follows higher fees for parking and towing and security checkpoints and earlier closing times for liquor stores at 8 p.m. 

Commissioners are taking strong steps after 2 fatal shootings last year and nearly 500 arrests during Spring Break.

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