By Jim Newell
The Village of Lake Orion Parking Study Ad Hoc Committee heard proposals from two engineering firms on Thursday about the feasibility of constructing a parking structure in the Children’s Park parking lot.
The committee approved a motion to recommend Carl Walker, a division of WGI (Wantman Group, Inc.) be contracted at an amount not to exceed $7,400 for a feasibility study for a parking deck.
The committee also heard a proposal from Walker Parking Consultants, Inc.
Final consideration and approval goes before the Lake Orion Downtown Development Authority Board of Directors, said Village Manager Joe Young, adding the DDA would pay for the structure.
DDA Executive Director Molly LaLone said the DDA will pay off the cost of the downtown streetscape project in June of 2020 and a parking deck could be the DDA’s “next big project” if the village does go forward with construction plans for a parking deck.
A parking deck would be paid for over several years and funds would come from the DDA’s annaul operating budget, LaLone said.
The actual cost of any parking structure depends on the number of parking levels and spaces the village wants, and on which site the structure would ultimately be built. The Children’s Park site, for example, is in a potential flood plane and could present obstacles to overcome, Young said.
“That’s what the feasibility study is for, to give us an idea of what it would cost,” LaLone said. “Until then, we really don’t know.”
Young said the committee was also interested in other areas as potential sites for a parking structure.
During the meeting, committee members broached the two lots on Anderson Street, commonly known as the Pet Centre lot and the Whiskey’s lot, on the corner of Anderson and Front streets, as a potential site.
Michael Ortlieb of WGI also told the committee that those lots would be the best location in the village for a parking structure.
The village, DDA and parking study committee members, however, would have to discuss that possibility with area business and property owners to see if they are open to that development, Young said.
Dia Zaraga, owner of Sagebrush Cantina, owns the former Whiskey’s lot and has a long-term lease arrangement with the village to use that lot as public parking.
Jeff Schmitz of JS Capitol Group owns the former Pet Centre lot on the corner of Anderson and Flint streets.