Thursday, June 12, 2014
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Renovation would expand city/library parking to 54 spaces

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[June 12, 2014]  LINCOLN - Tuesday evening the Lincoln City Council revisited a plan to expand the parking area at the corner of Kickapoo and Pekin Streets. This is one of the proposals that was introduced two years ago during the initial studies for downtown revitalization projects. The plan drawn up at that time met with some difficulties and was tabled.

Tuesday night Mayor Keith Snyder presented a new architectural drawing of how the existing parking lot can be modified and expanded using the city owned green space at the corner of Pekin and Kickapoo. With the new design, the lot would be able to accommodate 54 parking spaces.

The new plan includes changing the direction of the one-way alley from east-to-west to west-to-east. Snyder pointed this out saying the change of flow would actually help the library because it would allow easier drops off for families letting children out at the annex. He noted the plan included moving the library drop box to the south side of their building to go along with the change in the direction of traffic as well as accommodate parking against the library lawn.

The plan includes one entrance on the north side at about the same location as the current entry. The entry would be moved to the west to accommodate parking along the library lawn. This would provide 14 spaces at that location.

On the other side of the parking lot, the direction of parking would change with rows running east to west instead of north to south. Four spaces would be created behind the building commonly recognized as the Bartlemay building. There would be a center island with 16 spaces, then 9 spaces facing Kickapoo Street and 11 facing Pekin.

Snyder said the concept plan has been taken to the Lincoln Public Library board and they support the changes. In addition, the board has pledged to contribute $10,000 to the renovation. Snyder explained the boardís endorsement and contribution were important because the library actually owns a slice of that public parking lot.

He reminded the council the city received $140,000 in State Capital Improvement Plan dollars, and with the $10,000 from the library, they now have $150,000 to work with.

It was also noted that during the project the alleyway would get some much needed repairs as well.

During discussion, Joni Tibbs questioned the two spaces at the northwest corner. The drawing shows a sidewalk along the outside edge of the lot, with a walk-in entry to the lot on the corner. She said looking at the drawing it appeared to her that the two adjacent spaces were too close to that entry, and that cars would actually block the sidewalk there.
Scott Cooper agreed, and had a suggestion. He wondered if those two spaces could be designated with signs that they were for compact cars only. He said a small car would probably fit in there, but if someone like himself who owns a large pick-up truck pulled in there, it would block the sidewalk.

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It was further discussed that designating compact parking is a common practice in parking garages, and seemed to be a logical solution for this plan as well.

It was noted that the drawing didnít appear to offer any security lighting. Snyder said he wasnít clear on that, but would find out from the architect if that is included in the plan.

In keeping with the cityís long term capital projects plan to repair sewers as roads are redone, Jeff Hoinacki asked if there was a need for sewer work to be done in the alley. At the moment the answer is unknown, but it is another concern that will be looked into.

Snyder asked the council to place approval of the concept plan on the consent agenda for Monday night. He said if the council moves quickly the project can be started in the near future.

He said that in doing all these improvements in the city, he definitely wanted to keep in mind the upcoming Lincoln Art & Balloon Festival and the affect construction will have on that event. He said he didnít see that this project could be finished by festival time the end of August, but he does expect it could be completed by the end of the calendar year.

The aldermen agreed on adding the item to the consent agenda. When items are placed on the consent agenda it is considered they will be approved without further discussion. However, the council has the right to remove any item from that agenda if they feel it requires further discussion or if they are not prepared to make a decision.


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