TODAY'S QUESTION: Should Columbia build another parking garage near the Regency Hotel?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011 | 4:01 p.m. CST

Columbia has been looking into building a new downtown parking garage on Short Street. 

The garage would have 300 spaces and cost $7 million to construct. To build the garage, the city would have to buy the land from Broadway Lodging LLC for $1.25 million. In the agreement, Broadway Lodging would lease 100 spaces for its customers.  

On Monday, Columbia City Council tabled the proposed agreement that would approve the acquisition of the garage.

At the meeting, Mayor Bob McDavid was supportive of tabling the bill.

"What we've learned tonight is that the owners of the Regency intend to build a boutique hotel that is going to be a gem of the city whether we put a parking garage in or not," McDavid said. "Secondly, we've learned that there is not enough money in the Parking Utility to build this garage without parking (fee) increases."

Tony St. Romaine, assistant city manager, said at the meeting government needs to supply parking garages for businesses. He also said garages supply indirect income.

"When (residents) come downtown, they spend money in bars and restaurants and movie theaters," St. Romaine said. "As a result of that, those sales taxes come back to the city." 

To pay for the garage, Columbia would consider increasing parking meter rates. Currently, metered parking prices are $.30 per hour downtown. On Tuesday, at a meeting of the Special Business District Board, St. Romaine said Columbia's meter rates are low compared to other cities in the state. He suggested raising the prices to $.50 or $.60 per hour. 

The City Council will review the proposed agreement at its March 21 meeting.

Do you believe Columbia needs another parking garage? 




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matt arnall June 7, 2011 | 12:30 p.m.

Absolutely not. Isn't Columbia supposed to be into alternative transportation, like biking and walking and public mass transit. Spend this money on the bus system. This is very aggervating. Any city planner that knows what they are talking about has a thousand reasons to not put in a new parking garage, let alone 2 or 3 or 4. This is crazy. Another garage is not needed.

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield June 7, 2011 | 12:39 p.m.

"Isn't Columbia supposed to be into alternative transportation, like biking and walking and public mass transit."

A vocal minority has created that impression. The vast majority of residents don't want their homes to be within walking distance of businesses (see, for example, the Great Hangups rezoning backlash) and prefer to drive even when gas is $3+/gallon (see, for example, how empty the sidewalks are outside of the urban core). The council has taken note of these preferences and votes accordingly.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz June 7, 2011 | 12:43 p.m.

Matt, is this the same bus system that is subsidized by about a million dollars per year in sales tax revenue?

(Report Comment)

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