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.
Tallahassee Friends: If you are interested in preserving or improving Tallahassee areas like Midtown or Downtown, I have set up a FB group ‘FRIENDS OF MIDTOWN” to discuss such issues in a little more organized way than the usual Facebook discussion. The proposed five-story garage project for the corner of Fifth Avenue and Thomasville rd. was the trigger for the protest meetings leading to the City voting the proposal down at its Commission meeting on Feb. 20. That decision does not men that the problems are resolved: the issues leading to the opposition will recur with every new project proposal both in Midtown, Downtown and other areas, as long as city regulations will lead developers to believe they can get permits for their projects.
The Mayor’s suggestion at the meeting for the city to buy the properties for the two parking projects ‘so the city would maintain control’ of their developments was an inadvertent admission and sign that the usual regulations are inadequate to guarantee better results: the question is whether better guidelines and standards should be written into improved City regulations so they apply everywhere in similar situations.
To discuss these issues, I invite you and people you know who could contribute to this discussion (whose email addresses I don’t have), to join the FACEBOOK group. FRIENDS OF MIDTOWN. (Public group)
Isn’t the CRTPA doing a transportation study of the mid-town area? Wouldn’t it make sense to make that a transportation and PARKING study since the vast majority of patrons will drive their cars to mid-town. Sure it will be walkable for those people living less than a mile away, but are there buses going to that location? Is there a plan for a buses?
Does anyone know the appraised value of the properties, who the listing entities are, and what the city has agreed to pay? Who will get the commission(s) if it is sold? Did the RFP include a statement from the bidder that he or she has no business or family connections to any commissioner or city employee?
I wonder who owns the property at 5th and Thomasville?
GBGH Construction owns 1130 Thomasville and Emo family trust owns 1124 Thomasville Rd. Those appear to be the closest addresses to Fifth Ave to the north. 1124 is right across from Red Eye Coffee…..which is right next to Mid Town Pies. That is a Matlow business.
And our 3 “seasoned” commissioners also bowed down and kissed the feet of their 2 newly elected co-commissioners on the “southside super market to police station” boondoggle.
Also like the midtown parking back-down in amazingly 5-0 no vote.
Sadly at this point with Tallahassee you get the feeling this No Vote was because The Payoffs to the “right people” were either not made or the offers were not high enough yet.JT too busy paying off The KHA Executive Board right now to get involved in Midtown obviously
Still waiting for Curtis Richardson to step up and make public the “text” message. It is also time for the Democratic Party operatives to request the same.
Rarely do You find yourself Agreeing with our previous know-Nothing commission… Matlow especially really does seem like a Champion of common sense (despite being a Democrat).