Drivers accustomed to parking in the 43 spaces behind downtown’s Bashford Courts will have to find other options for about two and a half months this spring and early summer.
After a unanimous contract approval by the Prescott City Council on Tuesday, Feb. 27, the long-discussed reconstruction of the popular Bashford Courts parking lot is slated to begin during the week of March 12 and be complete by June 10.
Although the exact construction schedule has yet to be determined, Prescott Program Development Manager Steve Orosz said it likely will include closure of the entire parking lot at times.
“We want them to keep it open as much as they can,” Orosz said of the contractor, Earth Resources Corporation. But, he said, the reconstruction work would require closure of most or all of the lot between about mid-March and early June.
The adjoining alleys, which are part of the reconstruction plans, also will be closed at times on alternating schedules, Orosz said. One of the alleys will be closed at a time – either the one that runs between Montezuma and Cortez streets, or the alley that intersects with Willis Street – but not both, he said.
The city received three bids from local contractors: Earth Resources Corporation; Asphalt Paving & Supply; and Fann Contracting. Earth Resources submitted the low bid, at $1,632,220, and city recommended accepting the low bid. The estimated cost by the city’s engineer was $1,580,000.
Central to the project was the need to reduce the amount of water that drains onto the pavement.
The work will include installation of new storm drains that will connect the existing roof drains to an underground system. That will improve safety by eliminating standing water, which turns to ice during the winter months, according to a city memo.
The project originally included extensive landscaping and color-stamped concrete, but Orosz said the city removed some of those features in recent efforts to “right-size” pending downtown projects in order to bring down the costs.
Councilman Phil Goode questioned Orosz about how the project would affect the number of spaces in the lot. “Certainly, we don’t want to lose any parking spaces,” he said.
Orosz said the number of spaces was discussed extensively among during a series of meetings with area business owners. Ultimately, he said, “We settled on zero loss.”
While the original plans included the loss of as many as eight parking spaces, the design was changed after business owners weighed in.
Among the goals of the project was to reconfigure the lot to make it more usable for drivers. Orosz pointed out that the aisles are too narrow in the existing lot, and some of the handicap spaces do not meet required standards.
By installing new trash compactors in the alley, the project was able gain enough space to keep the number of parking spaces at 43, Orosz said.
The city combined the Bashford Courts project with work on the nearby Willis/Cortez intersection in an effort to get them done more efficiently, Orosz said.
The Willis/Cortez intersection has experienced a series of water main failures in recent years. The work will include replacement of the water mains, resurfacing of the intersection, and replacement of the brick paver crosswalks.
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