Meeting set to discuss downtown parking deck

Alpharetta plan will include third option

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ALPHARETTA, Ga. – After nearly five months of deliberation, Alpharetta city officials will unveil their latest plans to provide public parking in downtown.

A public meeting with city leaders has been scheduled for 6:30 p.m., Feb. 13 at City Hall to present the latest proposals for a parking deck west of Main Street.

Residents, including business leaders, have been following the issue since last August when the City Council voted 6-1 to locate a multi-million-dollar parking deck between Roswell Street and Old Roswell Street, just behind Smokejack restaurant.

Since then, the city has had to go back to the drawing board twice – first, because of public objection over the proposed site; second, because an alternative site on Milton Avenue near Rest Haven Cemetery included errant calculations.

Details of the latest proposal have not been released, but one city official has disclosed that the new proposal will have a third option that will include two decks, one at each location. Estimates for the project have run from between $5-$7 million.

Councilman Dan Merkel said last month that the third option addresses parking in both earlier proposals and called it a “good, viable alternative.”

Consultant for the study, Pond & Co., was brought in to provide more detail about the two options, their costs, their capacity and how much disturbance construction would cause. Merkel said the third option calls for constructing smaller decks at each location which would preserve a pedestrian gathering area near Smokejack that citizens use during downtown events. Both sites, he said, could be constructed with an eye for future expansion.

“We had feedback from those who didn’t want the lot behind Smokejack, and we had people who said that’s where it needs to go to support business,” Merkel said. “We had people who said we need to put it back by the cemetery and make it a more walkable community. We had very emotional input from people who supported one of the two locations we were considering as options.”

He said he hopes the latest plan will address all the concerns and he is anxious to hear feedback.

Funding for the project will come primarily from the sale of city-owned lots at the downtown City Center development on the east side of Main.

Assistant City Administrator James Drinkard said details about the project will be presented at the forum when city officials and representatives from Pond will be on hand to answer questions and field comments.

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