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New gate installed at entrance to Manatee Public Beach to keep overnight visitors away

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HOLMES BEACH, FL (WWSB) - Every night when 11:30 p.m. rolls around at the Mantee Public Beach on Holmes Beach, a new gate closes the beach parking lot until 5 a.m.  Ricardo Gaete and his girlfriend have mixed feelings about this new gate.

"I actually think that the public beach should be open 24/7, but I understand that they do it for security reasons so that's kind of a good thing too," said Gaete.

Signs show that the beach is open from sunrise until 10 o'clock a night.  This new gate shuts an hour and half after that. There is also a gate at a side entrance to the beach.  It's a way that police and the parks department are hoping to keep all the visitors out after hours.

"I guess it's okay, I mean it keeps people who shouldn't be on the beach at night, off the beach," said Megan White, a visitor to the Manatee Public Beach.

In addition to this new gate, another big change at the entrance to the beach involves the traffic light.  It now goes to a flashing red light during the overnight hours.  For Megan White and many other beachgoers, they say if people aren't happy about this, they can go elsewhere.

"There are a lot of other beaches here, where you can go and there is no gate, so you can just pick and choose which beach you go to," said White.

The new gate was installed last month and became operational earlier this week.

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