Last week’s City Attorney discussion went on so long (read about the decision somewhere else), we canceled the work session on the CIP and the Library (thank you, Mayor Rossing for not starting the discussion at 10:30 pm). I don’t anticipate the discussion will be much like the Wild Rumpus, but you never know. I will try not to gnash my terrible teeth or roll my terrible eyes no matter how the conversation goes.
I don’t have much else to add on the “why is it important?” or “do we need it?” topics; I covered those here. Instead, other news reminds me of the bigger downtown context in which the Library plans to expand. In the Saturday News (with more to come Wednesday), there were some photos and a brief piece about developer Jerry Anderson’s proposed development for the Community Resource Bank site. Jerry gave me a preview of the plans last week and I’m excited about this project.
What does this have to do with the Library? Nothing directly, but the one important feature the proposed 49,000 s.f. project would not include is parking (Northfield zoning does not require that projects in the C-1 Downtown zoning district provide parking).
Parking downtown is a big issue:
- Jerry Anderson’s 49,000 s.f. project will generate demand for parking while creating no new parking spaces.
- The Library expansion will also need parking. The proposed plan is to build south and eliminate the parking on 3rd Street and the city parking lot at 3rd and Washington Street. The plans also sketch in underground parking as part of the expansion, but the amount of parking to be constructed has not been determined. The Library will generate demand for some additional parking, will construct new parking, but will eliminate parking that already exists.
- Downtown business owners have long complained about a lack of parking.
- The NDDC continues to work on parking (and has been meeting with Library Board representatives to see how parking can be addressed as part of the Library project).
- The draft CIP even includes money for a parking ramp study suggesting this issue is significant…
I have no answers here, but I would like to see the City and private developers like Mr Anderson work on a shared solution for parking north of 4th Street as a shared part of the projects on the table. For those who would like to eliminate parking in the hopes of making downtown Northfield a haven for bicycles, pedestrians and transit users I’d say we have to accommodate the reality we currently have while working toward the ideal we would like to see.