NEPTUNE BEACH, Fla. - Neptune Beach Mayor Harriet Pruette is welcoming all visitors to the beaches this Fourth of July weekend and warning that police will be stepping up their presence to “tone it down” from last year.
“We’re asking people to be responsible and to obey the laws,” Pruette tells WOKV News.
Those who are blocking street and sidewalks without a permit may be warned or issued a $250 ticket. Drinking alcohol in public on city property is illegal. Fireworks such as roman candles, mortars, bottle rockets and fire crackers are also illegal.
“Last year it was chaotic and people were pushed into the street,” Mayor Pruette says. “It got so out of hand that it’s become a real safety issue.”
Pruette says Neptune Beach will have more officers out on patrol this year helping to keep things orderly and the traffic flowing.
Last year a deck collapsed during a beach party. Mayor Pruette says there were so many cars blocking the street that emergency responders had to park down the street.
Pruette says last year the city didn’t keep the sidewalks open. In one instance, people set up a “giant water slide” that covered a sidewalk block for about three days.
“There were many people who were drunk and all over the streets,” she says.
This year, Pruette says, their goal to keep the sidewalks open to allow people to get out of the crowded streets.
“When you’re out there on your bicycle, be safe,” she says. “Don’t be so drunk that you’re running all over the road and running into people.”
Pruette says ten years ago, hundreds of people came out to the beaches, but the county has grown so much they now expect thousands.