Design phase to begin on downtown Georgetown parking structure

Correction: The following Georgetown City Council items were not included on the timeline: A conversation was had with city council on April 9 to discuss the public engagement process for the garage; council approved the sale of debt for the parking garage on April 23; another conversation was had with council on Sept. 10 to confirm the public engagement process and provide some direction to the steering committee;

and there were earlier references to the garage during fiscal year 2019 budget discussions on June 26, 2018.

Progress on the $5 million parking structure at Main and Sixth streets continues, with the project expected to see completion at the end of 2021.

Georgetown City Council approved an agreement with Wantman Group Inc. on Nov. 12 for services to design the structure. The proposal identifies a fee of $348,000 for design and construction phase services.

District 6 Council Member Rachael Jonrowe cast the single vote against the agreement, with the District 1 seat vacant.

“I am concerned that the city never did its due diligence to identify a prime site or sites with adequate public input about the location, and consideration of how much parking habits and needs have changed in just the last five years,” Jonrowe said in a follow-up email. “For example ... many more visitors seem willing to park on the west side of Austin Avenue on weekend evenings and during events than they have been in the past. Parking at the Bank of America parking lot and the county lot immediately adjacent has gotten to be so regular and competitive that most weekend evenings, you will find cars actually parked in the drive-thru lanes at Bank of America.”

Jonrowe said though she appreciated the steering committee, the scope of their work was limited as it focused on design as opposed to location.

“There’s also the fact we would be turning a prime piece of property within the nine-block historic courthouse district into a garage that would generate no tax revenue,” she said. “The downtown is such a delicate microcosm that every decision made about even the smallest property matters, because it can have tremendous impact on the entire old town area.”

Funds for the overall $5 million project are issued through the 2019 annual debt issuance—the debt will be served 50% through the property tax rate and 50% from dedicated tax revenue from the downtown tax increment reinvestment zone, according to city documents.

The parking structure will be located across from Laurie’s Cafe and will replace an existing parking lot that includes about 50 parking spaces; the new garage will likely have about 200 parking spaces.
By Sally Grace Holtgrieve
Sally Grace Holtgrieve solidified her passion for news during her time as Editor-in-Chief of Christopher Newport University's student newspaper, The Captain's Log. She started her professional career at The Virginia Gazette and moved to Texas in 2015 to cover government and politics at The Temple Daily Telegram. She started working at Community Impact Newspaper in February 2018 as the Lake Travis-Westlake reporter and moved into the role of Georgetown editor in June 2019.


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