Mayor: Expect Parking Deck Decision Soon

Posted: November 14, 2012 at 4:03 a.m.

— 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

Deck Construction

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

There are currently 3 publicly available and underutilized decks in the downtown area, with another under construction. The private parking lots in the area don't currently hit capacity, even on weekend evenings, and we just spent a million dollars on a downtown parking system that we don't even use during events.

Just to be very clear, the downtown area doesn't need more parking. The WAC doesn't need more parking. The WAC would LIKE parking next to their building. The fact that we're spending 7 million dollars of city funding to appease the WAC's non-existent parking problem is absolutely ludicrous, ESPECIALLY when there is a new, larger WAC going into Bentonville that is going to draw a lot of people away from this one. Luckily, we have an Alderwoman to weigh in and explain to us how much the WAC is driving this.

This is a WAC parking expansion. The mayor needs to call it that. Then if people still want it, fine. But repeatedly dressing up a WAC issue as a downtown area problem so Fayetteville residents can foot the bill is nuts. WAC can submit their request for 7 million to the A&P just like the University did.

PS Brenda is Ward 1.

Posted by: Archs

November 14, 2012 at 9:29 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

All of this sounds wack to me

Posted by: NWAGuy

November 14, 2012 at 11:14 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

The Alderewoman saying that she is waiting for a preference from the WAC into where the parking deck should be built. Why doest the rest of the establishments on Dickson street have as much of a say on the parking Deck since they pay taxes like the WAC does since the money is coming from the city of Fayetteville public parking?
Also are they going to tear down Grubs bar and Grill. Last time I checked it was quoted by famous sports writer from ESPN just last year as being the best college sports bar in the country and we are going to tear it down for a parking deck that nobody will ever use except for Bike blues and bbq maybe.

Mayor Jordan was lucky he didnt have decent competiton for mayor other than unfavorable retred former Mayor Cody with questionable decisions in the past or Mayor Jordan would of lost!!!

Posted by: WSJ

November 14, 2012 at 1:35 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Hey, WSJ, the issue is about LOCATION of a parking deck, not your fantasy about some imaginary politician who did not file and run.

>>Just to be very clear, the downtown area doesn't need more parking. The WAC doesn't need more parking. <<

And just what do you have to back that up Archs? Traffic counts? Merchant surveys? Police surveys or reports? Making it up?

Posted by: cdawg

November 14, 2012 at 2:57 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Made up facts are used every day by the government and sucessfully.

Posted by: JailBird

November 14, 2012 at 5:02 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Well cdog, I'm very glad you brought that up.

For about 6 months now we have been asking for a study of parking usage that shows a need for greater parking. Additionally, we have been asking for an economic impact assessment that shows how a 7 million dollar investment will affect economic growth in the downtown area.

Currently, there have been several references to a study that is almost a decade old and even then didn't show a need for additional capacity. So you're right, this "need" for additional parking has pretty much come from the mayor's office "making it up". Lots of people have done quick anecdotal weekend and evening surveys, and the only time Dickson Street has ever hit parking capacity is during Bikes and Blues.

Each time the economic impact question has been asked, the answer a vague expectation that it will help somehow.

Its ludicrous to embark on a public works project of this magnitude with absolutely no data or survey showing a need for the project, and no idea of how this investment will help the downtown area.

Posted by: Archs

November 14, 2012 at 6:32 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

This is what Fayetteville voted for, so this is what Fayetteville deserves.

Posted by: doug10181011

November 14, 2012 at 8:34 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

There is no problem with parking, just paid parking! It's already there, make use of it -- there is Not a Shortage!!

Posted by: Commentor

November 14, 2012 at 9:40 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

If Coody had won, he would wasted money on something else, just as stupid.

Posted by: JailBird

November 15, 2012 at 6:17 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

ridiculous to spend money on this when there are Vacant parking spaces -- Government rules, the people are fools;

Posted by: Commentor

November 16, 2012 at 3:39 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

All governments are pernicious, even good government.

Posted by: JailBird

November 16, 2012 at 4:53 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

A total waste of time and money....

Posted by: Apbacker

November 17, 2012 at 7:19 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

When drunk homeless bums are sleeping in it, they will look back and say. "It seemed like a good idea, at the time".

Posted by: JailBird

November 18, 2012 at 5:42 a.m. ( | suggest removal )