The $1.75 million is federal transportation money and is only to be spent on the BUS station. The agency wants to be assured that, since the station is being incorporated into the garage, its money will be appropriately spent.
City Manager Darrell Blenniss told the parking garage committee Monday that revisions have been submitted to the FTA and he expects a decision in two weeks.
The city can't bid the parking garage until the FTA signs off on the project.
Mayor worried original estimate may increase
Mayor John W.D. Bowling said he is worried that the consultants' original estimate of $5.2 million to build the entire facility will increase because it has been a year since the estimate was made.
Blenniss said he thinks there has been enough interest locally on the project that bids will come in close to estimate, and if not the city can negotiate with the winning contractor to bring the cost down.
Bowling asked if the hold up was political, but committee members said it was more bureaucratic. The revised environmental assessment has to go to the Kentucky Department of Transportation and that office forwards it to the FTA in Atlanta.
The city needs final word from the FTA by Aug. 1 so there can be a public comment period. The entire process has to be finished by Oct. 1 or the city will lose the grant funds.
Blenniss said the city will have to reevaluate the financing if it doesn't receive the grant. "We haven't broached that question ... we're confident things will move forward as planned," Blenniss said.
Voted to use bonds for remaining costs
The city has been awarded $1 million in Renaissance, or state downtown development money. The first $600,000 was spent on the purchase of property for the garage and architectural fees. There is $400,000 left that will be spent on construction. The city expects to get $350,000 from the sale of retail space in the first floor of the garage, and that money will be spent on construction as well. Then Third Street Development Corporation has promised the city $400,000 from the proceeds of the sale of The Hub and Gilcher properties after the garage is built.
Commissioners have voted to use bonds to pay for the remaining cost of the garage.
The revisions the city made to the document were reportedly reflective of a change in staff at the FTA. Blenniss said the original person reviewing the document at the FTA asked the city to make general statements about the parking garage.
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That person left the FTA, and the new reviewer had a different idea about what the environmental assessment should look like, according to Blenniss.
The FTA asked the city to provide better maps, more detail about the BUS station and proof the federal transportation money will only fund the BUS portion of the project.
The city was able to get more detailed maps from its consultant without any additional cost, and reworked the wording of the grant.
Blenniss said he is optimistic the changes will satisfy the FTA.
BUS plans route when garage is complete
The BUS already operates in Danville, and anyone can ride it, though reservations must be made 72 hours in advance. About 100 people in Boyle County took 19,423 one-way trips in the BUS last fiscal year.
BUS plans to start a route when its home in the parking garage is complete. Wagner said the flexible route might last from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every day and run to the grocery, Wal-Mart and other areas of town.
It hasn't been decided if the BUS would pick up people at stops or at the station.
Now it costs $1 per person per mile with a $3 minimum. The price for catching the bus when it runs its route could be less, according to Sue Jeffers, who oversees operations for the Bluegrass Community Action Agency.
BUS has an office on South Fourth Street, but Jeffers said when the location moves to the garage, across from the hospital, will make more people aware of the service.
The total cost of the parking garage has been estimated to be $5.2 million. Here is how the city expects to pay for it:
* $1.75 million in federal transportation grant funds.
* $400,000 from state downtown revitalization money.
* $350,000 from the sale of retail space in the first floor of the garage.
* $400,000 from Third Street Development Corp. This money is what is left over from the sale of the Hub-Gilcher complex, minus Third Street's expenses. Third Street has said it will give the money to the city once the garage is built.
* $2.3 million in city bonds.