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Fri, Sept. 20

Council focuses on parking garage

PRESCOTT – Plans for a downtown parking garage will be back before the Prescott City Council during one of several meetings the council will conduct this week.

The council will kick off its public meetings at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday with a workshop on the parking garage that the city plans on Granite Street. The meeting will focus on agreements between the city and the developers who will build the structure.

The meeting will take place at Prescott City Hall, 201 S. Cortez St. After the workshop, the council will conduct its regular voting session, beginning at 3 p.m. When that meeting is complete, an Enterprise Zone Commission Board meeting will begin. The council serves as the members of the board, and will hear an update on enterprise zone activities in the city.

The parking garage issue has been on the council's agenda off and on for years, as the city has tried to find a way to finance the structure.

In the past year, the city has focused on a public-private partnership as a way of getting the garage built. Earlier this year, the council chose a proposal from the M3 Companies, which would combine luxury apartments and office space with the parking deck.

For the past several months, city officials have been working with representatives from M3 to come up with a design/build agreement to detail the responsibilities of the city and the developers during the construction of the project.

That agreement is now ready for council review, as is a project agreement, which outlines the long-term relationship between the city and the garage developers.

The council will also review architectural drawings of the garage and illustrations of how the building will fit in with the downtown streetscape.

If the council approves of the agreements and the preliminary designs, the city could initiate the parking garage project on Oct. 10. That means that the construction would begin in January, right after the holidays.

The voting session at 3 p.m. will include a number of issues that the council first discussed at its study session last week.

For instance, a proposed concrete batch plant on Wilkinson Drive will be back for a possible council vote. The Hanson Aggregates Arizona company hopes to build a concrete plant off Wilkinson Drive near the old Yavapai Materials sand and gravel operation.

The plant requires a special use permit from the council, even though the land is zoned for industrial uses.

In the other action, the council will:

• Consider a request for $15,000 from the "Prescott Jazz in the Pines," a new jazz festival that will take place in late October.

The festival plans to culminate in a concert at the Elks Opera House on Oct. 28.

According to a memo for the council, the city's economic development department does not have money in its budget for the jazz festival. Economic development coordinator Greg Fister said "staff does not believe this expenditure would fit under the umbrella of 'economic development.'" But, he added, the City Council has a contingency fund, which it could use to aid the festival.

• Discuss a landscaping plan to mitigate the cut in the hill along Prescott Lakes Parkway (69/89 connector road).

• Conduct a closed-door executive session at 1 p.m. to discuss the city's negotiations for the purchase or lease of land to acquire water rights.

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