Parking deck committee holds first meeting

Photo by Todd Gill / Enlarge
Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan outlines three potential locations for a downtown parking deck during an ad hoc committee meeting Wednesday morning inside City Hall room 326.

The first meeting of Mayor Jordan’s self-assembled, downtown parking deck committee went about as we expected.

1. Mayor outlines preferred locations for a 300-space deck.
2. Committee members weigh in.
3. Mayor tells committee he wants design input.
4. Committee members oblige.

That’s the outline for this post. Here we go.

Mayor Jordan’s preferred locations

Proposed locations

As reported on Tuesday, Jordan’s preferred locations are the paid parking lot south of Grub’s, the paid parking lot south of Kingfish, and the property across the street from Kingfish that is currently home to the Walton Arts Center’s administrative offices.

“I don’t propose to put anything in the big parking lot across the street from the Walton Arts Center,” said Jordan. “It’s not going to happen, because we’re floating bonds on the (paid parking) revenue stream and when you start cutting that thing in half, you’re going to lose a lot of revenue.”

Committee members weigh in

“I like Spring Street,” said Carl Collier, referring to the paid lot across from Grub’s at the southeast corner of Spring Street and West Avenue. “I think it’s the quickest, easiest build and right now we need the fastest construction you can get.”

Collier said with paid parking now in place, people want to see where their money is going. “I wish we could’ve done it a year ago,” he said.

Other committee members agreed saying access would be easier at that location, and construction would likely be less costly there than at the paid lot on School Avenue or the site of the Walton Arts Center offices.

Mayor Jordan wants input

“The main thing I want out of this group is ideas,” said Jordan. “What are your ideas, how would this work and what would you like to see?”

Jordan said he wants the process to move quickly.

“We’ve talked about this thing for ten or twelve years,” said Jordan. “It’s time for the talk to end and to get moving.”

Jordan said he’d like to begin work on bond issue needed to finance the deck as early as October and would need design recommendations by Thanksgiving.

The committee speaks

Ethel Goodstein-Murphree, associate Dean and professor at the UA’s Fay Jones School of Architecture, stressed the importance of blending the structure in with the surroundings so as not to take away from the character of the area.

“We’re talking about something that is going to have a visual impact on Dickson Street and the surrounding area,” she said.

Steve Clark, president and CEO of the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce, said he’d like to see the deck function as more than just a place to park vehicles.

Other members agreed and said they’d like to see a variety of other opportunities kept at the forefront of the design.

“This is a prime area for both commercial activity and living spaces,” said Ward 2 Alderman Matthew Petty.

Other suggestions included consideration of outlets for electric cars, bicycle parking, the hiring of local contractors when possible, and a design that would lend itself to expansion in the future.

Next meeting

The committee will meet again at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 5 inside City Hall room 326.

Mayor Jordan’s parking deck committee

Carl Collier – Owner, Collier’s Drug Store
Steve Clark – President and CEO, Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce
Andrea Foren – Purchasing agent, city of Fayetteville / owner, Maxine’s Tap Room
Marilyn Heifner – Executive director, Fayetteville Advertising and Promotion Commission
Ethel Goodstein-Murphree – Associate Dean / professor, UA Fay Jones School of Architecture
Stephen Smith — Communications professor, University of Arkansas
Brian Swain – Administrator, Central United Methodist Church
Terri Trotter – Chief operating officer, Walton Arts Center
Sharon Waters – Parking and telecommunications manager, city of Fayetteville
Amy White – Owner, Something Urban