February 03, 2023

Council continues plan for parking lot

Creston City Council approved a schedule Tuesday for how funding will be spent on a parking lot agreed on last month in the 100 block of North Maple Street.

In December, council was in favor of using $114,000 of the city’s nuisance loan funds to construct a privately-owned parking lot to complement a refurbish of a neighboring building for multi-residential. Council member Richard Madison had the only no vote.

City Administrator Mike Taylor explained issues facing the council and the developer of the property.

“After re-reviewing the document. I noticed I did not account for any ADA spots,” Taylor read from an email from the developer. The developer also wondered about room for utility truck access. The developer suggested reducing the number of parking spots from 26 to 22. Taylor wanted the council to be informed of the change before making any formal decision.

Council member Steve Wintermute asked if there will be access to the alley from the lot. Taylor said he does not know of any prior discussions related to the flow of traffic within the lot.

“The current curb will have to be cut,” Taylor said. “There are some standards from the state. That is all we are asking, for the standard to be followed.” No council member opposed the reduction of parking spaces.

Taylor said the city needs assurances the proposed work for the buildings will be completed knowing the city is assisting with the parking lot.

“We want to have the Agnew Lofts done before we pay money for the parking lot,” Taylor said. “That is a guarantee, kind of.” Taylor said the developer asked if there are alternatives. He wanted to start the parking lot this summer to make sure it was finished before the building. The developer questioned the reliability of construction costs not increasing over time. The developer asked if for whatever reason the building was not finished, could the parking lot property be returned to the city.

“I don’t want it back,” said council member Matt Levine.

Council member Kiki Scarberry does not see the same contractor being used for the building and the parking lot. No one knew an estimate on how long the parking lot will take to finish.

Council member Steve Wintermute suggested waiting until a certain percentage of the building funds have been spent before the parking lot work starts. Other council members agreed to that concept. Council members discussed the threshold on what needs to be spent, starting with $600,000, based on the cumulative sources of funding. Council agreed on $825,000 and unanimously approved that amount.

The property was first intended by RANT, LLC for building on the property including retail space and a minimum of 10 units second-story apartments. The city had $349,046 remaining from the $1 million Nuisance Property and Abandoned Building Remediation Assistance Loan (NPAB) which the city could collect from IEDA upon demonstration of expenses related to remediation of the Development Property.

The original plan was a privately-owned parking lot that with 26 spaces. Those spaces will complement rental units for Maple Street Apartments at 124 N. Maple and the Agnew Lofts Apartments.

John Van Nostrand

JOHN VAN NOSTRAND

An Iowa native, John's newspaper career has mostly been in small-town weeklies from the Rocky Mountains to the Mississippi River. He first stint in Creston was from 2002 to 2005.