The parking lot down the street from Turlock City Hall will be brought to City standards following the approval of the Turlock City Council on Tuesday to proceed with funding the full demolition and reconstruction of the existing site.
“It’s not spending, it’s investing in what I truly believe to be a worthwhile project for our downtown,” said Council member Bill Dehart Jr. “I think it’s going to serve our city well.”
After City Hall relocated to its current home at 156 S. Broadway in the 1990s, the City purchased the property at 129 S. Broadway, which was the site of an old retail store that had been demolished to its concrete slab and dilapidated parking lot.
Following the purchase, the City performed touch up work to the parking stall lines, but never made the necessary improvements to bring the site to City standards.
“It was never improved to City standards, nor was it really added to the nine dedicated City parking lots within our community’s downtown, so we’ve had a lot of interest in approving the site,” said Director of Development Services and City Engineer Mike Pitcock. “It is quite ugly.”
The scope of work would include the full demolition and construction of a City standard compliant parking lot with 32 parking spaces—nine less parking spaces than what is currently available.
The reduction of parking spaces is due to the need to add landscape, lighting, storm water management swales and adequate drive aisle widths, according to Pitcock.
The estimated budget for the project is $275,000 and funding is expected to come from the Capital Facilities Fees, or General Government, fund. The CFF Nexus Study adopted by the City Council in November 2013 specifically included a project for “Downtown Parking Study and Facilities” and funding is currently available.
In addition to reconstructing the parking lot, the City Council also voted on Tuesday to direct staff to prepare and advertise a Request for Proposal for a downtown parking study and master plan utilizing CFF funds.
A consultant will quantify the existing downtown parking facilities, determine existing demand, project future demand and develop a master plan for new downtown parking facilities with estimated dates for master plan improvement implementation.
Preparation of the RFP will be by Planning Division personnel and would have no additional impact beyond the approved Fiscal Year 2015-16 budget. At award of the contract to a consultant for the preparation of the Downtown Parking Master Plan, it is anticipated to be $75,000 to $100,000 in CFF funds.
The City Council also took action on Tuesday to refine the Community Event and Activities Grant eligibility criteria and application by accepting changes that were recommended by the Community Grant Ad Hoc Subcommittee.
Staff was directed to apply the updated eligibility criteria and application to the 2015-16 Community Event and Activities Grant funding cycle. The grant money is generated from the Tranit Occupancy Tax and helps funds events like the fireworks show and Fourth of July parade and community organizations, like the Turlock Community Theatre.
“A lot of time was spent really taking a look at what we want from these programs in terms of the type of events that are funded and encouraged in the community,” said City of Turlock Director of Parks, Recreation and Public Facilities Allison Van Guilder.
The City Council’s decision follows concerns expressed by councilmembers in June regarding the tiering of applications when they had to consider the Community Event and Activities Grant recommendations from the Parks, Recreation and Arts Commission.
The City Council wanted to establish a Community Grant Ad Hoc Subcommittee to review the current grant eligibility criteria and make appropriate recommended changes to councilmembers. Earlier this month, Mayor Gary Soiseth appointed Councilmember Matthew Jacob and Councilmember Steven Nascimento to the subcommittee.
“I think we have come up with a process that further enables the Parks, Recreation and Arts Commission to hash out applications to make sure that only the best applicants are approved for funding,” said Jacob.
Among other changes, the subcommittee recommended, and the City Council supported, capping the maximum award amount at $5,000 instead of $10,000 and narrowing down the score sheets used by Commissioners to consider each event from 14 questions to ten questions in order to give each question more weight.
“We feel that this represents the desire of the council to support events in our community that really do give back to the community in terms of attracting individuals who are going to stay in hotels and spend money in our town, which I think is the intent of these funds,” said Nascimento.