Janesville City Council ponders senior parking
The owner of the old jail site on South Water Street said one option being considered to create parking for the senior center would hurt development plans, which could include a hotel.
Jeff Hazekamp is one of the owners of the vacant lot that is the former site of the Rock County Jail.
“We view this site, located in the heart of downtown, adjacent to several community buildings, as a very important downtown redevelopment site,” he wrote in a letter to the city.
The owners are waiting for a feasibility study by an interested company that may want to locate a hotel on the site, according to his letter.
“Other office or mixed-use options for the site are also being considered,” he wrote.
One option to create parking is to make parts of St. Lawrence Avenue and Water Street one-way.
One-way traffic would have a negative effect on any redevelopment by reducing access and visibility, Hazekamp wrote. It runs counter to the city’s current direction of reverting one-way streets to two-way.
He also opposes removing trees and green space.
“I empathize with the parking challenges of the senior citizens at the center and would be willing to discuss other options, but I do not feel that I, as a property owner, should bear much of the cost and burden for a community organization,” he wrote.
When contacted by the Gazette, Hazekamp declined to comment further about development plans for the site.
Seniors have said they don’t have enough parking at the senior center, 69 S. Water St.
City staff members who did a parking survey believe the seniors have adequate parking.
The council will consider the parking issue at Monday’s council meeting. In February, members asked staff to explore different options to increase parking.
-- Asking 17 employees of Mercy Options, which shares the public lot behind the senior center, to use the parking plaza across the street.
-- Creating a permit parking system.
-- Figuring the cost to create angled parking on St. Lawrence Avenue and Water Street, requiring converting portions of both streets to one-way.
Mercy Options employees seem to be parking in assigned stalls across the street, Jay Winzenz, assistant city manager, wrote in a memo.
If council members think more parking is needed, staff recommends that the senior center board issue parking permits.
About 55 stalls in the current parking lot and on St. Lawerence Avenue west of Water Street could be designated as permit parking between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. About 14 stalls would be available for Mercy Option patients and surrounding businesses and apartments.
One-way streets and angled parking would cost $100,000, creating 26 stalls at a cost of $4,230 per stall. Twelve terrace trees would be removed.
Several nearby property owners oppose converting the streets because of the loss of green space and traffic circulation problems that one-way streets create.
Patrick McDonald, a lawyer who’s offices are nearby, concurred with Hazekamp’s opinions. He wrote in a letter to the city that he and his employees almost always see empty spots in the senior center parking lot.
“Save our taxes and save our green areas,” McDonald wrote.