At their February 20th meeting, the City Commission voted to reject all proposals to establish a parking garage in the Midtown area.
Rather, the Commission decided to move forward with the development of a master plan for Midtown while seeking other solutions to the parking issues.
A master plan is a dynamic long-term planning document that provides a conceptual layout to guide future growth and development.
Previously, the City Commission had initiated a Request for Proposals (RFP) to provide public parking in the Midtown commercial core. Two proposals were received. Both were five-story parking garages that included purchase and leasing options.
One proposal, located at Thomasville Road and Fifth Avenue, included 331 spaces and cost $11,675,069. This proposal was self-sustaining, as user parking fees would cover the cost of the garage after the first year of opening.
The second proposal included a five-story parking garage at the intersection of Thomasville Rd. and North Monroe Street. It would contain 550 spaces and would cost about $25-30,000,000. This proposal was not self-sustaining.
Before the City Commission meeting, two public meetings were held on the issue.
On January 28, 2019, a public meeting was held where staff shared the Midtown Action Plan priorities with the community, explaining how the proposals would alleviate parking shortages but “did not have the capacity to facilitate large-scale redevelopment of the area”. Further, a Midtown Working Group Meeting was held on February 11, 2010.
The recommended parking solutions derived from these meetings include selecting one of the two RFP proposals, finding an alternative, considering “smart parking” options, and hiring a parking specialist.
At issue at this meeting was the fate of these two proposals.
After approximately twenty speakers addressed the issue, with a majority against both parking garage proposals, Mayor John Dailey began the discussion among the elected officials.
Dailey proposed that the parking garage proposals be “scrapped”, the city move forward with a Midtown master plan, and purchase the land currently for sale at Thomasville Road and Fifth Avenue for surface parking.
City Commissioner Jeremy Matlow agreed with rejecting the parking garage proposals, but was against purchasing the land.
City Commissioner Dr. Elaine Bryant was also in favor of rejecting the proposals and moving forward with a master plan. She was not in favor of purchasing property for surface parking without further analysis.
Commissioner Curtis Richardson agreed with rejecting the proposals and with the development of a master plan, but did not agree with moving forward with Dailey’s proposed land purchase.
In the end, Commissioner Matlow made a motion to reject all parking garage proposals, seek other parking solutions with city staff working with midtown representatives, and to move forward with a master plan for midtown.
The vote was 5-0.