Mayor: Expect Parking Deck Decision Soon
Posted: November 14, 2012 at 4:03 a.m.
FAYETTEVILLE A decision on where to build a much-debated parking deck is likely before the end of the year.
Mayor Lioneld Jordan said Tuesday he’ll seek approval from the City Council on Dec. 4.
City officials have talked for more than year about where to build the deck. Three sites are being considered: a lot east of the Walton Arts Center and south of Kingfish bar; the main lot west of the arts center; and a location on the south end of the center’s Dickson Street campus.
Last year, the City Council authorized issuing up to $6.5 million in bonds to finance the project. The bonds would be repaid over 25 years using fees and fines collected from the downtown paid parking program.
According to a timeline for the project, the council was expected to select a site in June or July. Jordan then said the decision wouldn’t come until October.
He said Tuesday part of the reason for the delay was a request from the center’s governing board to re-examine the parking lot south of Kingfish. City officials previously ruled out the location based on public surveys.
Parking deck plans became a central issue in the general election pitting Jordan against former Mayor Dan Coody. Coody said the city should better use existing parking decks before building their own. If a deck were to be built, Coody said the city should seek bids from private developers to help build it.
Jordan added a public-private partnership would wrest control away from the city.
Jordan said he hadn’t made up his mind about the best location Tuesday. City officials are still analyzing the site east of the center, he said. They’ll recommend to the council how to proceed next month, he said.
According to Paul Becker, finance director, the city could face further delays if Jordan waits until next year to issue bonds. The mayor has said he wouldn’t issue bonds until a site was selected.
Becker pointed to federal law, which prohibits municipalities from issuing more than $10 million in tax-exempt, bank-qualified bonds in a given calendar year. He said waiting past December would restrict issuing additional bonds in 2013.
Becker also said the bond package council members considered last November would have to be restructured if bonds aren’t issued by the end of the year.
Both Brenda Boudreaux, Ward 4 alderwoman, and Bobby Ferrell, Ward 3 alderman, said Tuesday they hadn’t made up their mind about where to build the parking deck.
“I’ll wait for (the administration’s) recommendation,” Ferrell said. “I want to hear all of their rationale.”
Boudreaux said she wasn’t particularly bothered by the time it has taken to sort things out.
“Actually, I’m glad we didn’t just rush along without communicating with the Walton Arts Center,” Boudreaux said. “We had to give them time to get their plan together.”
At A Glance
David Jurgens, utilities director and parking deck project manager, said Tuesday he expected construction to begin on a downtown parking deck in May or June and end by November 2014.
Source: Staff Report