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Big holiday weekend means big test for St. Joe

ST. JOSEPH, Mich. -

Visitors flooded Silver Beach on Memorial Day, allowing city officials to test out new parking and traffic regulations. The reviews – so far – are good.

“I think it definitely is going to help,” said Bob Starks, a longtime St. Joe resident.

The summer season has officially started in St. Joe.

Between serving hotdogs, Marge Rivera said she’s happy about the parking and traffic changes in place throughout the city.

“They’re really needed because it can be just a cluster of cars honking at each other, trying to figure out which way to go,” she said.

Rivera and her ‘Twisted Dawg’ hot dog stand have had a front row seat to the summer struggles for the last six years.

“It does get quite confusing, but this is such a unique little town, and it’s so nice to visit,” Rivera said. “We just don’t want people to be disappointed and not come in. We’d rather have them here.”

It’s a sentiment shared by Starks.

“We’re pleased to share our community with people, especially – as long as they appreciate it,” he said.

As ABC57’s Taylor Popielarz reported two weeks ago, the city’s goal is to have visitors and residents equally appreciate the summer oasis that is St. Joe.

Signs now stand around the city to alert people to the traffic changes.

And cars began winding through new one-way streets during the holiday weekend.

Parking may never be perfect, but first impressions are telling.

James McClerkin and his family made their first-ever trip from Crawfordsville, Indiana to Silver Beach on Memorial Day.

McClerkin said he was pretty pleased.

“I see the police out here a lot,” he said. “They’re everywhere. They’re not harassing anybody. They’re making their presence known. I mean, I feel comfortable with my kids here.”

The St. Joe city manager and public safety director want feedback throughout the summer on how the changes are impacting you and your family.

To review all of the changes, click here for the report that aired two weeks ago. 

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