Council considers senior parking
The council also was expected Monday to vote on spending $200,000 to remodel the ice rink so a junior A hockey team could locate here. The agreement with Wisconsin Hockey Partners was not ready when the agenda was printed, so the council will consider that issue on Feb. 23.
Staff said a study done in June shows enough parking exists around the senior center. When the seniors did not agree with the results of the study, the council asked staff to identify parking alternatives and report back.
Seniors believe at least 20 more parking spots are needed.
Staff recommends changing programming at times of peak demand rather than building more spots. The city also could move Mercy Options leased parking across the street to the parking plaza. That could create 17 more parking spots. Mercy Options asked to retain three leased spots, and signs would cost $1,500. The senior center parking lot is public parking, so staff can't guarantee that Mercy Options visitors would not continue using it.
Many seniors prefer a new parking lot on the site of the former jail at a cost of $400,000 for the land and another $40,000 for stalls. That would create 90 parking spots.
Seniors say instructors and students dictate programming so the times would be difficult to change. Seniors also want to add offerings at the center but say they can't because there is not enough parking.
Nineteen additional spots could be created around the building at a cost of $5,526 per stall, or $105,000, according to the memo. That would include making St. Lawrence Avenue one-way westbound.
Eric Levitt, city manager, said in a memo to the council that he couldn't justify the costs for a new parking lot despite the possible benefits.
"We are in (a) tough economic environment, and I believe the recommended solution addresses some of the immediate parking needs," he said.
"I also believe the option on adding parking spaces on existing streets would be the best next step."