(Crystal A. Proxmire, March 12, 2017)
Ferndale, MI – As the City of Ferndale moves forward with plans for a mixed use parking structure in the W. Troy Parking Lot, there will be an update at the March 13 City Council meeting.
Research and plans for a deck have been in the works for years, with the most recent plans coming together since two years ago a potential public-private partnership in the Withington Lot (known as the 3-60 Project) fizzled out.
A Parking Committee made up of made up of business owners (and one pastor) in the area (Dean Bach, Tom Pearlman, PJ Jacokes, Jacki Smith, Jim Pool, Brian Siegel and Tiffany Best) made the recommendations which were further vetted by Gibbs Planning before deciding on the W. Troy/Allen location.
“The knowns” of the project, according to a presentation by the Parking Committee, are that (1) the required parking supply increase will require four levels, (2) sustainable parking structures are more successful when combined with other uses, and (3) the parking structure must be safe and secure.
The location was presented to the Planning Commission in October, with a concept that would be would be four stories, with street level commercial on the first floor facing W. Troy and the potential for residential units and/or offices. The deck would be constructed in such a way that it could support an additional two floors should the City want to add on vertically in the future. Currently there are 138 spaces in the lot. The structure would bring that up to 390. The architect emphasized that the presentation was a “really high level conceptual phase,” just to give council an idea of what could be done at that location and how many spots could be added.
The project cost could cost up to $20 million, which could be offset by incorporating office, retail or other mixed use features.
The design and features will be worked out through a public engagement process should council approve the request to move forward into the “design and development” phase.
“We’ve spent the past five months in a research and engagement phase,” says Assistant City Manager and parking lead Joseph Gacioch in a recent update on the City’s Parking Website. “We’ve talked to people, held focus groups, hosted a public forum, and conducted surveys. It was all about learning our community’s needs, wishes, and concerns regarding this project.”
A survey in Oct. 2016 about the potential structure had 74 responses, which included business owners and residents.
Of those, ten of the responders (13.56%) expressed concern that the project would be mixed use, as opposed to a parking deck with no retail, office or living space.
Other concerns were about changing the community’s character, the impact on homes and businesses, concerns with the design, and wanting for more information and citizen engagement. There were also responses wanting more parking and mixed use.
Once Council approves moving into the design and development phase, Ferndale-based architects Shaffer & Pappas, Inc. will be working with the city on the design.
According to www.parkferndale.com, “Gacioch says that once construction begins, the project is expected to take between 12 and 15 months to complete—not the two or more years that has been rumored. During this time, the City will remain focused on a key goal: assisting businesses and residents through the process, all while working to complete the project under budget and as quickly as possible.
“Fifteen months of construction does not always equal fifteen months without parking,” Gacioch says. “The City aims to restore some parking in the West Troy development before the project is completed, hopefully around the 11-month mark. We’re also working closely with the Downtown Development Authority on support programs to ensure that people are able to access businesses and get where they need to be downtown safely and quickly.”
The City and the Downtown Development Authority have allocated $200,000 to support solutions to the parking shortage during construction. The City is also working with students from the University of Michigan Citizen Interaction Design Program on communications tools to help foster discussions among residents, business owners and the city.
For more information on the project, including how to get involved and have your opinion heard, see:
Want to be on our email list? Go to http://eepurl.com/bv-2vr.