Nothing’s official yet, but the four possible locations for a planned downtown parking deck seem to have been narrowed by half.
It’s now looking like the 300-space parking deck will either be built on top of the current WAC Lot or on the Theater Lot site immediately south of the Walton Arts Center.
City Council members decided against moving forward with geotechnical work at the East Lot and the South Lot after hearing residents’ comments from two public input sessions held earlier this month.
“Quite frankly, every single comment was negative,” said project manager David Jurgens, speaking of the East Lot. “Everybody said, ‘Don’t even consider doing it here. It’s too small, the access is too bad and it is right next door to 20-foot-tall houses.’”
Jurgens said virtually all comments about the South Lot echoed those same sentiments.
With such small footprints, the South and East lots would require at least a five-story structure and since they each have about 60 parking spaces already, the new deck would need to include at least 360 spaces just to make up for the loss.
Comments about the two larger locations, Jurgens said, were much more positive. Plus, completed geotechnical borings at those sites did not identify any underground voids which would significantly increase construction costs of a deck.
Spending the $30,000 needed to drill holes at the two smaller lots isn’t something Jurgens’ team was comfortable with, though, considering all the negative comments.
“We just think that based on what we’ve seen and we’ve heard from everybody, that we really don’t want to invest the money drilling holes in those two parking lots,” said Jurgens.
Still, he emphasized that nothing’s been decided yet.
“We’re still in the evaluation process,” he said. “We’re not at any point of being able to make any recommendations or being able to put out a footprint for what we would do.”
The City Council is expected to make a final location decision sometime in the next few months.
WAC Lot – The existing 280-space main Walton Arts Center lot at West Avenue and Dickson Street
South Lot – The existing 60-space lot across from Grub’s Bar & Grille at West Avenue and Spring Street
East Lot – The existing 58-space lot next to Kingfish between School Avenue and Shipley Alley
Theater Lot – The area directly south of the Walton Arts Center’s main facility