Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

December 26, 2012

City, county reach accord for parking

County getting 80 spots in planned downtown garage.

By Ken de la Bastide

— A city-county agreement that will give Howard County government 80 employee parking spots in a proposed multi-story downtown garage has been reached.

The Kokomo Board of Public Works & Safety passed a resolution Wednesday transferring 80 parking spots for use by county employees for 30 years and at no cost to Howard County.

County Commissioner Tyler Moore said commissioners will consider passage of the resolution today.

“We’re in favor of the agreement,” Moore said Wednesday. “We appreciate the mayor’s offer and the willingness of the city to work with us.”

The resolution states the city will be responsible for maintenance and operation of the planned four-story parking garage, on property along Union Street where the Kokomo Downtown Farmer’s Market is located.

Once construction begins on the garage, the city will provide parking for the 80 county employees on the former Button Motors property on the east side of Union Street, along Sycamore Street. Until that takes place, county employees will be allowed to park on the west side of Union Street.

The parking spaces will be assigned to specific county employees and will be available during normal business hours, but not on weekends.

Mayor Greg Goodnight offered the parking spots in the planned parking garage earlier this month, after the commissioners committed $500,000 in Economic Development Income Tax funds to the $15 million project to construct a new YMCA on the former Button Motors property.

The parking garage is expected to cost approximately $5.6 million and will be constructed as part of the new downtown YMCA facility. Don Button donated the property to the YMCA for the project. The city will cover the cost of demolition and any environmental remediation of the site.

Parking by county employees in the downtown area has been a point of contention between city and county officials for several years.

Howard County has made an offer to purchase the former Family and Social Services Administration building at the corner of Superior and Main streets, at a cost of $850,000, that included 120 parking spaces.

The commissioners have signed a purchase agreement, with the funds to be paid in three installments from the county’s Cumulative Capital Fund.

The first payment will be $305,000. A $300,000 payment will be made in 2013 and a final payment of $245,000 is set for 2014.

Moore said the commissioners still are considering how to address the planned purchase. He said a decision will be made at the commissioner meeting today.