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home : premium content : news May 27, 2016

12/26/2012 3:48:00 PM
Council discusses parking options at old warehouse site
Photo by Kacie Thrift
Leavenworth city officials are considering options for the parking lots at the old fruit warehouse site, next to the Festhalle. Options include creating a tiered parking structure or one large parking lot. It is likely the project will be done in phases.
Photo by Kacie Thrift
Leavenworth city officials are considering options for the parking lots at the old fruit warehouse site, next to the Festhalle. Options include creating a tiered parking structure or one large parking lot. It is likely the project will be done in phases.

Ian Dunn

Many decisions still remain as the Leavenworth City Council ponders options to upgrade the parking lots at the old warehouse site. The council discussed some possible options at the Dec. 11 study session.

Engineer Steve Marsh of TG&H Engineering in Spokane made a presentation on the possible options available to the council for upgrading the parking lots at the upper and lower sites at the warehouse property.

Pacific Engineering had already done a study, but only took it so far, Marsh said. TG&H took the plan and rehashed it.

"The first thing we noticed, not that we necessarily agree with it, their report suggested if you went with a tiered parking lot, you would spend close to $700,000 restoring three walls," Marsh said. "That's a lot of money."

Marsh suggested taking the proposal back to the CEO of TG&H, who is a geotechnical engineer, to get a second opinion on restoring the walls.

"Because, in my mind, $700,000 is a little ridiculous for just those walls," he said.

TG&H created a graded option for purposes of comparison. That is, to elevate the lower level of the site and make it one large parking lot. Marsh said they wanted to lay out a basic design for this so they could see what a cheaper option would look like.

As it is laid out, this option would provide 152 parking spaces and cost around $1.2 million.

As for the tiered option, explored in the Pacific study, Marsh said this would provide 152 parking stalls for $1.8 million, just for phase one. Phase two would cost $700,000 for just the wall repair.

Councilman Elmer Larsen wondered if they select the cheaper option, would that limit building tiered parking later? He thought making one large parking lot would be easier to maintain.

"To answer your question Elmer, it's nothing money can't solve," Marsh said, in jest. "The trick is always cost. We've done four or five parking feasibility studies for downtown Spokane. Turns out it is cheaper for them to buy property away from downtown and bus in."

Busing people in not an option for Leavenworth, said City Councilman Bob Francis. He figures having two decks of parking would be a big asset for the city, even though they are going to have to pay more up front.

"We're into doing this as inexpensively as possible," said Mayor Cheri Kelley Farivar. "We paid a lot of money for this property that we haven't figured out how we're going to pay off. To enter into another $2 million indebtedness for a parking lot is not very palatable."

The city is probably looking at some type of tiered structure in the future, said City Administrator Joel Walinski. This could be done, he said, in up to four phases over a five or 10 year period.

A key element, Farivar said, is the city is asking the Port of Chelan County for money to complete the project.

"And one of the things we are giving them back is 40 percent of the vertical development rights over the property. We have to maintain those," she said. "We have to consider how would those vertical development rights be affected by a tiered parking lot as opposed to the slopped parking. There are several factors to consider."

Francis, who is a member of Projekt Bayern, expressed concerns the slopped parking lot would be unsuitable for the Oktoberfest tents. But City Engineer Dave Schettler said it was only a 2 percent grade, much like a road, and should be suitable.

While Larsen favored making one large parking lot, Farivar suggested the city explore upgrading the upper parking lot as a phase one.

"Let's say we redo the most visible parking lot so that it really functions beautifully. Then, we do our improvements to the street because that is a different project. Take this out of the picture," she said. "Do this first. I would like to know a number for that. What would it cost us to do the upper parking lot? By the time we do this, we know what the Port is planning. Is there anything that prevent us from doing this in two phases?"

Councilman Tibor Lak said there is no way the council is going to approve spending $1.8 million dollars. Farivar agreed, says it would certainly inflame the public to talk about spending $1.8 million to accomplish the parking, in addition to what the city paid for the warehouse property.

The lower parking lot, also known as Little Beirut, could also be used for employee parking, Farivar said.

"We keep hearing from our merchants about places for employees to park. We have continually discussed the idea of having the Little Beirut area being a spot for employees," she said. "Do we really need to expend that kind of money for an employee parking lot? These are factors I want everybody to ponder."

Lak suggested finding an acceptable amount of money to spend on the upper parking lot, and then seeing what could be accomplished for that amount. Walinski responded by saying they could do that, but the city would not hit code using blocks as a fence.

"The question becomes what can we do to meet code for X amount of dollars?" Farivar said. "That's what we need to do."

Councilman Peter DeVries suggested taking these ideas back to the city Public Works Committee for further refinement.

"This gives us a brainstorming jump off point," Farivar said.

Ian Dunn can be reached at 548-5286 or

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