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Gilbert Could Get $18M Parking Upgrade

The Gilbert Town Council may approve a second parking garage near the intersection of Gilbert Road and Vaughn Avenue in its trendy Heritage District. Credit: The Arizona Republic

By Jessica Boehm for The Arizona Republic

Gilbert‘s trendy dining district could soon offer a second parking garage with valet service and street upgrades that would make it easier to snag a taxi or ride-sharing services such as Uber or Lyft.

The Town Council took initial steps last week to add an $18M parking structure to the Heritage District as early as spring 2019.

A formal design won’t be approved until later this year, but early recommendations call for a five-story garage with up to 600 spots on the east side of Gilbert Road near Vaughn Avenue, behind two prominent planned restaurants — The Yard and O.H.S.O. Brewery.

Gilbert Councilman Eddie Cook said a new parking garage is essential to future development in the Heritage District, because it will allow the town to get rid of some of the downtown’s temporary lots and offer that space to new businesses.

The council approved spending $1.3M for the design of the structure. The final design and a construction contract will come before council later this year. If approved, construction could begin as early as March.

Parking welcome, taxpayer cost scorned

There are currently more than 2,000 parking spots in the Heritage District, according to town documents. The existing parking structure contains 364 spots and the rest are in town-owned lots around the district.

A 2015 study recommended the town add 942 parking spaces in two additional garages to accommodate future demand.

But a pair of councilmen questioned the high-dollar price tag and necessity of a new garage.

The town would likely pay cash for the structure, using $15.75M from the general fund and $2.75M from planned land sales in the Heritage District, Budget and Management Director Kelly Pfost said.

Councilman Jared Taylor suggested downtown businesses should put some “skin in the game.”

“Is it all on the taxpayers? What are the businesses doing to contribute? They’re certainly getting a huge benefit from this,” Taylor said….

Read more at The Arizona Republic.

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