Alpharetta to mull 3rd parking deck option - North Atlanta Business Post
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Updated Nov 14 @ 1:05PM
 

Alpharetta to mull 3rd parking deck option

Feb. 13meeting planned to discuss ‘blend’ idea

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ALPHARETTA, Ga. – Residents, including business leaders, will have another say on where the growing number of visitors will park in downtown Alpharetta.

The city has scheduled a public forum for Feb. 13 to present residents with the latest studies on where a new deck, estimated at between $5 and $7 million, will be located.

City leaders have been considering two sites, both on the west side of Main Street, to augment the existing five-story, 455-stall parking deck on the east side of the street near its City Hall.

One suggested site is just off Main between Roswell Street and Old Roswell Street behind Smokejack restaurant. The other site is farther north and west on Milton Avenue near Resthaven Cemetery.

But, over the three months since the issue was last discussed, consultants have come up with a third option – one that melds the earlier sites that have divided residents and downtown business owners.

“Option C is a blended option, so it addresses parking in both those locations and should be a good, viable alternative,” said City Councilman Dan Merkel.

Consultant for the study, Pond & Co., was brought in to provide more detail about the two options, their costs, their capacity and how much disturbance construction would cause.

“We had feedback from those who didn’t want the lot behind Smokejack, and we had people who said that’s where it needs to go to support business,” Merkel said. “We had people who said we need to put it back by the cemetery and make it a more walkable community. We had very emotional input from people who supported one of the two locations we were considering as options.”

Merkel said Pond was fed all the public input.

“It’s a town of 65,000 people at night and 120,000 during the day,” he said. “If you’ve got 100 people who are passionate about a food truck, I get it. But at the end of the day, we’ve still got to look out for the majority of the people in the city. So if there’s an opportunity to address as many people as we can who are local, let’s see what we can do.”

Merkel said the third option includes designs on both decks that provide for future expansion. He also said the Roswell Street lot would probably restrict parking on a time basis so as to promote retail and restaurant turnaround. The Milton Avenue lot, he said, might be suitable for employee parking.

Merkel said he wants to hear from those passionate on the issue and plans to attend the Feb. 13 forum.

“It may cost us a little bit more to do it this way, but, again, I think if we can address the issues the people have in the right way, that may be OK,” he said. “It will definitely be under budget.”

He said the city did explore other sites, but there simply was no available land for sale.

The farther away you get from the city,” he said, “the cheaper land gets. But, the next thing you know, you’re going to have to get a shuttle bus.”

No one has released cost estimates for the third option. Funding for the project will come primarily from the sale of parcels across Main Street at City Center.

Assistant City Administrator James Drinkard said details about the project will be presented at the forum when representatives from Pond will be on hand. The forum runs from 6:30-8 p.m., Feb. 13 at City Hall..

“Pond will do the program,” Drinkard said. “Elected officials will be there. We’ll have staff there. We like to hear the public comment first-hand.”

The City Council originally voted to locate the parking deck at the Roswell Street site. But that vote, taken last August, was voided after officials heard an outcry from residents who wanted that site preserved for outdoor events. Business leaders in the downtown area, however, told city officials in an informal poll that the site would be best suited for commerce and that a parking deck farther out near the cemetery would doom many Main Street businesses.

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