What is the price of parking in downtown neighborhoods?
That is the question the Kirkwood City Council will tackle at its meeting tonight at Kirkwood City Hall. At issue is a perceived lack of parking in downtown Kirkwood and its potential adverse affects on area restaurants and shops.
To help remedy the parking problem, the City of Kirkwood is considering purchasing two buildings on West Jefferson owned by Mel Bay Enterprises Inc., razing the buildings, and constructing a parking lot with 46 spaces. The parking lot will connect with an existing lot with 44 spaces adjacent to the west side of the buildings. The total project is expected to cost $1.43 million or more than $30,000 per parking space plus the cost of lost tax revenue from the two properties.
The western building used to be location of Mel Bay Music Company and is currently vacant; the business occupying the eastern building is going out of business. The demolition of the buildings will create a large gap in an otherwise nearly complete block of buildings on both sides of the street.
While parking in downtown Kirkwood has been considered a problem for years, the City Council has apparently not debated whether the problem is real or imagined. Some of the city councilors are concerned the city is moving too fast on the project, that it might pay too much for the two properties and that other alternatives need to be considered before moving forward. Many of the commenters on the STLtoday.com article report that while parking is sometimes difficult, it is far from impossible and that downtown Kirkwood does not need more parking.
The Kirkwood City Council will take up the matter tonight at 7pm at Kirkwood City Hall. Click here to see the agenda for tonight’s meeting.