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Howell looks to add downtown parking

City of Howell SignThe Heart of Howell is excited to hear that the City of Howell is pushing this project forward. We have always shown our support for these improvements, and this will be a great upgrade for our city, our community and our multi-use complex.

This is a natural next step for the city to take not only to support our newly finished development, but also the growing business community in our complex like 2FOG’s Pub, Encore 118, Silverstone Jewelers, The Loft Salon (coming soon) and Your Peace of Mind. These businesses are bringing more people to our downtown and we need to make sure that the infrastructure is in place to support it now and in the future. There may be future growth if the WALLY project comes to light or redevelopment work is done on the Old Holkins Property.

Here is the news story recently published in the Livingston Daily:

Wayne Peal, Livingston Daily – August 25, 2015

Howell is advancing with plans to rebuild two downtown parking lots and add some parking spaces.

But a suggestion the project could be financed out of the city’s general operating budget drew criticism from one councilman.

“I just think this stinks,” Doug Heins said.

“The Downtown Development Authority is not doing anything for this — a major downtown project.”

While no final decisions have been made, Mayor Nick Proctor found general council support for his proposal to issue roughly $1 million in bonds to pay for renovations to two city parking lots north of Grand River Avenue.

The bonds would be paid for with roughly $50,000 for up to 20 years from the city’s general fund, with an additional $21,000 a year coming from other city sources.

Lots targeted for improvements are on either side of Walnut Street. They include include Lot 4, behind the Heart of Howell complex and other buildings fronting on Grand River Avenue, and Lot 2, a recessed lot just east of the Howell Carnegie District Library.

A final decision is expected next month for work to begin in 2016.

The DDA was created to capture tax revenue for downtown improvements.

While Heins argued the DDA should contribute to the financing, Councilman Robert Ellis said that the organization was financially tapped out.

Costs associated with refurbishing new DDA offices at 118 Clinton St. and in continuing to finance other parking lot work have left it with little available cash to finance either proposed project, he said.

DDA revenue has also slumped from a peak of $570,000 in 2009 to $370,000 today, City Manager Shea Charles said.

Under the proposal, Lot 4 would be repaved, see upgrades to water and sewer lines, and have its utility lines buried underground. The projected cost is estimated at about $890,000.

Lot 2 would be reconfigured to add at least 15 additional parking spaces. Its entrance would also be reconfigured. Work would also be done to ease stormwater issues and bolster the lot’s retaining walls. Cost is estimated between $150,000 and $200,000

Proctor’s proposal deleted previously considered work on the parking lot near the former train depot north of the other lots.

“I’m proposing we do that at a later time,” he said.

Contact Livingston Daily reporter Wayne Peal at 517-548-7081 or wpeal@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter @wpeal.

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