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  Jefferson to Build Multi-tiered Parking Garage

Jefferson Iowa News has learned that the city council recently voted unanimously to go ahead with the construction of a modern, multi-tiered parking ramp in downtown Jefferson. It is thought that this facility will be necessary to accommodate the increased traffic flow to the downtown area created by the new overpass on the north end of town. A site has yet to be selected, however we have learned that at least one site was ruled out. The idea of closing the middle school (due to rapidly decreasing enrollment) and using that site was briefly considered, but was eliminated as too far away from the downtown area. It is approximately two blocks (500 feet) from the square. Other sites are currently under review.

Most local residents feel that a one- to two-block walk is completely too far to expect a shopper to travel. The Home State Bank parking lot has also been mentioned as a possible site. The ramp will feature three tiers of concrete parking, and will be patterned after the ramps located near Pro Player Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.

The $6.9 million cost will be offset by the installation of parking meters around the square later this spring. Approximately 104 of these meters will be installed around the square in the first phase of this project. In order to meet the goals set by the council, it is estimated that each meter will need to be set to collect $375.00 per 15-minute parking time. At this rate, the financial goal will be reached in June of 2014, providing that all meters are in constant use throughout the day.

The second phase of meter installation will take place at a time to be disclosed later, and will only commence if the projected goals are not being met. This step will include several new, innovative meter locations in order to draw in additional revenue. The photo at left is indicative of one of many location ideas being considered. With the combination of railroad overpass  and parking garage in place, it is thought that Jefferson will finally be able to overcome its perpetual problems of attracting out-of-town shoppers and static or decreasing downtown property values.

Parking meters will be of the modern variety, with users able to pay by credit card or debit card. In addition, monthly passes will be available at a cost of approximately $16,000.00. Annual passes will only be issued upon special request. It is hoped that these passes will not be abused, as city leaders stress the fact that every possible space will be needed for the expected crush of traffic. Once the parking ramp is completed, the meters will be removed.   

Spencer Straight, 01-03-2010