Joliet may approve parking garage downtown
By Bob Okon firstname.lastname@example.org November 2, 2012 5:28PM
Updated: December 6, 2012 6:10AM
JOLIET — Metra commuters in Joliet could have twice as much parking available roughly a year from now if a plan for a new parking deck is approved Monday by the city council.
The plan provides for a public-private partnership in which the city would be liable to pay off construction debt if the parking garage does not generate enough revenue for the developer.
The city would have 1,280 commuter spaces available with the addition of the parking deck. That compares to 660 now.
The parking deck has been in the works for more than a year. The plan was first presented in September 2011 but was put on hold to ensure the parking deck would be designed to complement the entire transportation complex being developed downtown.
Features of the deck include six levels and 400 spaces. Two elevators would carry commuters directly to a new Rock Island train platform being built as part of the transportation complex.
The parking deck would be located on Jefferson Street across from Silver Cross Field and include 6,500 square feet of restaurant or retail space at street level.
The plan is to provide all-day parking for $5 for commuters and lower prices for special events, such as Slammers games at Silver Cross Field.
City planning director Kendall Jackson said the deck is one part of an overall parking plan for the transportation complex, which includes another new lot now under construction. That lot includes 400 spaces, and the city also will build a smaller lot in the area behind the buildings that run along Jefferson Street across from Silver Cross Field.
The city would lose 220 other spots at the New Street lot, Jackson said. That lot would be eliminated as part of the redevelopment. The net gain will be nearly 600 parking spots, Jackson said.
City Manager Thomas Thanas said the parking deck is on Monday’s agenda for approval in an effort to get construction started. Financing for the project has not yet been arranged, he said.
The proposal that will be on the agenda Monday will include a provision for the city to pay off construction debt if parking fees do not generate enough revenue, Thanas said.
“We’re trying to structure this so we have adequate protection,” he said.
The development team is led by Stephen Tinsley with Tinsley and Associates in Chicago. Other firms involved in the project are Ruettiger, Tonelli & Associates, a Joliet engineering firm; Harbour Contractors in Plainfield; and Cordogan, Clark & Associates, an architectural firm in Chicago.
Tinsley said the deck would be completed sometime between late November 2013 and early 2014.