New Parking Garage Could Increase Meter Rates
COLUMBIA - Columbia's City Council unanimously approved the building of a new parking garage on downtown's Short Street Monday night. The city could be forced to increase parking meter rates to help pay for the garage.
Downtown parking meter rates could increase as much as 60 cents an hour, and parking garage rates could go up to $60 a month for each spot in the new five-level garage. Meter hours could extend from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. as well.
The hike pays for the $7 million, 300-space garage. The city will buy the land for the garage from Broadway Lodging LLC for $1.25 million. This is the same company redeveloping the Regency hotel.
A new 10-story parking garage opened just three weeks ago at Fifth and Walnut streets.
Parking meter fines have already increased from $5 to $10 to pay for the $14 million garage.
Mayor Bob McDavid said last week he wasn't happy Broadway Lodging was pressuring the city to decide on purchasing the land for the new garage by Monday night's city council meeting. He acknowledges the garage will be expensive, but he does support it. McDavid wants to reevaluate how each parking garage is priced and assemble a parking task force for downtown.
An analysis of the city's parking facilities estimated an additional $200,000 in revenue if meter rates increased to 60 cents. If meter hours extended to 9 p.m., the city would make an estimated $120,000 in additional revenue.