DDA Pays Cash For DASH Lot

February 27, 2006
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GRAND RAPIDS — Members of the Downtown Development Authority have authorized spending $2 million for a property purchase and construction of a new DASH 8 parking lot at

Bridge Street
and Winter Avenue NW.

The DDA will allocate $1.4 million of those funds this year, with hopes of starting the construction project before the fiscal year ends on June 30, and assign another $650,000 to the project in the next fiscal year budget.

Initially the board had planned to finance the construction and property purchase over eight years at roughly $300,000 per year.

"We have had some savings on some of our projects, so we can pay cash for the land," said Jay Fowler, DDA executive director.

The property price and cost to build the park-and-ride shuttle service lot comes to $1.6 million, with the construction work for roughly 105 spaces accounting for $625,000 of that total. A 10-year estimate shows that the gross parking revenue from the lot should total $233,000, with a net of $28,000, or $2,800 per year.

"When I looked at the numbers, I saw that this is actually quite a bad investment," said Fowler.

But the project also includes an access drive behind the city's

Bridge Street
fire station, which should eliminate traffic backups on the heavily traveled street when the fire trucks return from a call, and the renovation of a small brick building that the DDA will lease to the Downtown Alliance for its street cleaning crew and equipment.

"My recommendation is that we do this as a public service for the community," said Fowler.

The alliance, which is charged with marketing downtown and keeping it clean, will lease the building for 10 years at $800 a month, or about $400 a month less than its current lease at

549 Ottawa Ave. NW

The DDA hopes the new lot will be operating by September.    

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