Stanford looks for ways to use proposed parking garage

May 07, 2004|EMILY BURTON

STANFORD - Mayor Eddie Carter could use a few coupons for ongoing city projects. A clip- and-save for $200,000 off the Willis Overland Garage or take an additional $30,000 off the streetscape project are possible choices.

With the city's coupon pack lost in the mail, City Council members dug deep for financial solutions at Thursday's meeting and came up with some fresh ideas.

The original price of the streetscape project, set to replace street lamps, sidewalks and antique water lines on Main Street, has been steadily whittled down to a more manageable $243,060 after two rounds of bids.

"Quite honestly, I was amazed we were able to cut that much out of it," said Walter Bowman, engineer for the city's streetscape project. "...I do not see anything else we can cut out of this. Its like trying to build a house and saying, do you want the roof on."


Though their $200,000 transportation grant has helped float the bill, the city still needs $60,000.

City water department adds $30,000

The city water department has done its part to contribute to the project, announcing Thursday it added a contribution of $30,000 to the pot.

The council applauded.

The remaining $30,000 will be covered by the city through state municipal aid funds. The project is expected to start in mid June, with the new street lights placed in early July.

The Willis Overland garage project was also discussed, with the focus of creating a usable space on a minimum budget.

Garlan Van Hook, project architect, announced that the city's application for the second half of the project grant had been rejected by the state.

"I was told the criteria had changed," said Carter. Van Hook said he also was confused as to why the project plan was accepted last year, but did not meet the criteria this time around.

Council discusses using building for other purposes

With the $200,000 grant pool dried up, the council looked for other ways to finish the garage and even discussed using the building for other purposes.

"...Until some people go into the vacant buildings downtown, they're not going to need any parking anyway," said Councilwomen Ann Booth. "I'm just not for spending any money right now that locks us into a plan we can't do anything with."

Councilman Steve Lucas said he supported putting the interior of the building on hold until more funding became available. Lucas suggested the city dress the exterior of the property to make it usable, such as picnic tables or benches that would be "serviceable, look really good with the building, and be easy to maintain."

The council gave Van Hook permission to research possible patio furniture and outdoor dressings, agreeing to contribute $5,000 to the project this summer in lieu of the grant rejection.

"I think we should take this lemon and make lemonade," said Booth.

A committee has been appointed by the mayor to research alternate uses of the building for when additional funds become available.

The council briefly discussed the possibility of creating a space for a flea market, car show location or community center.

"I think it has the opportunity to be a great asset to the community, even though right now it has an incompleteness to it," said Van Hook.

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