Archive for Monday, December 10, 2012

City commissioners to consider new plan to pay for extra level of parking at proposed library garage

December 10, 2012


Lawrence city commissioners are set to decide whether to up the ante on how much the public would pay for an extra level of parking in a proposed downtown parking garage.

Commissioners at their Tuesday evening meeting are set to consider a plan that would have the general public pay about $435,000 — or more than half the total cost — to add 72 spaces to the garage planned to be built as part of the Lawrence Public Library project.

The idea is receiving a positive recommendation from city staff members.

“The reason I’m recommending we proceed is because we get such few opportunities to add parking downtown,” City Manager David Corliss said. “This extra level basically will be the equivalent of adding another surface parking lot in downtown.

“I don’t think any of us know of any properties we want to bulldoze that would allow us to add another surface parking lot.”

Commissioners were presented with a different plan in September, which would have had private property owners in the downtown district paying for the majority of the extra level of parking. But commissioners heard from several large downtown landowners who objected to the way the city was going to place special assessments on their properties to pay for the garage.

On Tuesday, commissioners will hear a new plan that will relieve several properties from the special assessment, which will cause the city at large to pick up a larger-than-anticipated portion of the project’s cost.

The city has received a bid of $834,806 to add the extra level of parking. Under the new plan, the city at large will pay 52 percent of the bill. Previously, the city was planning on using general tax dollars to pay for about 35 percent of the project.

Under the new plan, owners will pay about 30 cents for every square foot of property they own in the downtown district. The assessment is only made against the lot, and not the building itself.

The public price tag has increased because the new plan proposes for the city to pay the special assessments of two types of property in downtown. They are:

• Properties owned by non-profit organizations. Several downtown churches had expressed concern about being charged for the new garage. Several churches argued they shouldn’t be charged the assessment because they create demand for parking during a time when many other parking spots aren’t being used in downtown.

• Private property that is being used to provide private parking in downtown. Several businesses — including the Journal-World — provide parking lots for employees and customers. Representatives of several of those businesses had asked to be given credit for providing off-street parking, even though the city’s downtown zoning doesn’t require it.

Under the new plan, businesses would not be charged an assessment on the portion of their properties used for parking, but would be charged an assessment on the remainder of their properties.

Corliss said despite the increased cost to the public, the city’s budget could handle the extra expense. He is proposing to take about $50,000 a year out of the city’s parking fund and its reserve funds to pay for the city’s share of the project.

City officials sent out information about the new plan to affected property owners more than a week ago. Corliss said he thinks the new plan has made the idea of an extra level of parking more popular with some downtown property owners, but not all.

“I think this makes it more palatable, but I still think there will be property owners concerned about the cost,” Corliss said. “I understand that, but I still go back to this is probably a once-a-decade or so opportunity.”

The extra 72 spaces would be in addition to the 250 spaces that already are included in the design of the new public parking garage for the library. The library’s current surface parking lot — which will be eliminated when the garage is built — has about 125 spaces.


KiferGhost 5 years, 6 months ago

And there were actually people who believed that the library project was about the library, silly rabbits.

Once again we see the socializing of the expenses and privatizing of the profits. Thanks commissioners, how do you sleep at night?

Clovis Sangrail 5 years, 6 months ago

Meter all of it -- 24/7.

If not 24/7, then at least until midnight every day.

Why should the churches get free parking on Sunday, or the restaurants and bars after 5?

patkindle 5 years, 6 months ago

hey it is all about the kids, it is only pennies a day what every they want let them take it thats how we roll

Richard Heckler 5 years, 6 months ago

Forget the extra parking. Voters were not advised of such until too late.

Dont build the extra parking!!

Don't build the pork barrel project aka the Field House.

Where is the money? Isn't it strange when neighborhoods want sidewalks rehabilitated the answer is no there is no money. Now we know that line is a lie and always has been.

Put the extra parking and the field house on the ballot. Let the taxpayers decide. It appears the city government cannot get practical.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 6 months ago

BTW Kansas has the 9th highest sales tax in the nation. Lawrence must be in the top ten.

Talk about business unfriendly...

Talk about senior citizen unfriendly...

pizzapete 5 years, 6 months ago

“I don’t think any of us know of any properties we want to bulldoze that would allow us to add another surface parking lot." No, well I can think of one that's an ideal location. How about the empty lot next to the art center at 9th and NH? Oh, that's right, we didn't require that guy who built the huge apartment complex to put in any additional parking for all the long term parking it needs and instead allowed him to rent much of the existing parking in the garage for dollars a day. Great planning guys!

Sunny Parker 5 years, 6 months ago

Buy the Borders building and keep the library THERE! Save us millions!

irvan moore 5 years, 6 months ago

socialist liberals? i thought they were capitalist pigs

grimpeur 5 years, 6 months ago

"Representatives of several of those businesses had asked to be given credit for providing off-street parking, even though the city’s downtown zoning doesn’t require it."

Credit? For providing parking for your own employees? You must be out of your mind.

How about restricting parking to cars carrying more than one person and traveling more than three miles to work? How many LJW employees carpool? More importantly, how many (in addition to the boss) are driving walkable distances each day? And how many have 4 or more empty seats in their cars?

Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years, 6 months ago

Here we go again... round peg in a square hole. The root of the problem is shoving the freeking library down the taxpayers throat...all because of someones pet project: The parking garage.

The answer is tabling the new library and its' additions until there is a real need for it. Federal and State funding seem to come from, in part, how many computer you provide for vagrents and homeless. This has very little to do with providing a book repository for the community. The more you can provide services for, them more you can get for funding, which drives salaries. Same thing is happening at the new shelter. Build something you cant afford, then tell the taxpayers they need to fund it so you can get a raise.

At the same time many are whining about arts funding, they are demanding that authors works be purchased once by the taxpayer and become available free for those whiners.

Resend the library project and go buy a Kendal. Purchase your own reading material and support the authors.

Those who put the least into the system, demand the most from it... just see our wonderful bus system.

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 5 years, 6 months ago

I am once again, so glad I don't live in Lawrence. This is one retiree you won't attract.

David Reynolds 5 years, 6 months ago

lynn731, I will leave as soon as I can.

The city commission & city staff & manager of this town are out of control. They have absolutely no sense of priorities or the lack of funds. TAX, TAX, FEE, FEE, FEE to raise revenue.

The absolute ineptness of city hall is amazing. Do you realize this city has not attracted a single new employer of any size in the last 10 years. They had to bend over backwards to keep the few we have.

Wait until the public finds out the new Rec Center project is a financial give away to private interests at public expense. They will give away bonding capacity & cheap financing, give away free water to Rock Chalk Park Landscaping (not including the recreation center), they will pay for ALL maintenance & Parking lot replacement at Rock Chalk Park and the city will not own the parking spaces...KU will. You will love this, the city will pay $25million for a new recreation center on a NO BID basis and guess what...the city will not own one parking space. The big surprise is that none of these freebies are in the budget, so guess who pays?

OH yes, the public's usage will be on a fee basis based on membership.

The public best wake up and get involved, before this commission buries all of us in debt and obligations like the federal government.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.