Council deals with garage, open space, other issues
PRESCOTT – The downtown parking garage, open space acquistions, and a possible regional water coordinator will be among the topics the Prescott City Council will discuss in a three-session meeting this week.
The three meetings, which will include an executive and special meeting, a workshop, and the regular study session, will take place at Prescott City Hall, 201 S. Cortez St.
Beginning at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, the council will conduct a closed-door executive session on how to proceed with the open space initiative, which the voters approved in May.
The agenda states that the council will discuss and consult with city staff and the Trust for Public Land to consider the city's position regarding negotiations for the "purchase or lease of real property relating to open space."
City officials say the meeting is closed to the public because the council likely will be discussing land values and costs. The Arizona Open Meeting Law allows closed meetings to discuss "the purchase or lease of real property."
Included in the council informational packet is a draft open space strategy that outlines the current situation on a number of parcels the city has targeted for open space. For instance, the information states that the owner of the Prescott Buttes land (the hill next to Thumb Butte) is "becoming impatient, and immediate action is needed."
Other tracts that need action soon include the Granite Dells preserve, the Watson Lake wildlife corridor, and the Prescott greenways.
City officials say that representatives with the Trust for Public Land asked to meet with the council in executive session.
Also on the 1 p.m. session agenda will be a special meeting, at which the council will discuss awarding the contract for the Highway 69/89 connector. City officials plan to open the bids for the multi-million-dollar project today.
At 2 p.m., the council will conduct a workshop to discuss two items – creation of a water advisory committee coordinator position, and the discussion of an airport authority for the Prescott Airport.
Prescott has participated in a number of water committees in recent years. One of those committees, the Yavapai County Water Advisory Committee, is proposing the creation of a coordinator position that would work among the county communities to coordinate water issues.
The annual budget for the position is $225,000, and Prescott's share of that cost would be $50,000 per year.
A memo for the council from City Manager Larry Asaro outlines some concerns about the position, involving the purpose of the position and the budget.
At their regular study session, council members will take on a number of issues, including the downtown parking garage. The agenda lists Tuesday's discussion as an update on the garage.
Asaro explained that the city is proposing entering a "memorandum of understanding" with M3 Companies, the developers that the city is negotiating with to build the multi-use garage on Granite Street.
The memorandum would lay out both parties' responsibilities on the garage project. It would allow M3 to proceed on the design and engineering before the city signs all of the agreements and entitlements for the project.
"M3 and the city staff would like to continue the momentum on this project," states a memo for the council from the economic development department, "and waiting for final approval of the agreements or the entitlements before proceeding with design will cost the project several weeks."
In other action, the council will:
• Consider an agreement with the Prescott Area Coalition for Tourism to promote tourism for the city.
• Consider a change order that would pay $295,000 more than the contract called for to design the 69/89 connector road.
• Consider names for the 69/89 connector.