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Sat, Feb. 22

Council to explore how to manage garage

PRESCOTT – With the start of construction on a new downtown parking garage just months away, the City Council will tackle the issue of garage management this week.

The council will conduct a workshop on the management of the Prescott City Centre parking garage at 2 p.m. Tuesday. The meeting will precede the council's regular voting session, which will begin at 3 p.m. Tuesday.

Both meetings will take place at Prescott City Hall, 201 S. Cortez St.

The city plans to partner with the development firm, M3 Companies, to build a parking garage on Granite Street at the site of the current public lot behind Whiskey Row.

Construction work should begin this fall, with a target completion date of March 2002.

At the heart of the management discussion will be the issue of public versus private management of the garage. Earlier this year, the city sent out requests for proposals to major parking management companies.

Four national companies responded with proposals for managing the garage.

In addition, the city submitted a proposal for managing the garage in-house.

A committee comprising City Manager Larry Asaro, City Councilman Dick Cooper, Assistant Police Chief Dave Benner, Economic Development Coordinator Greg Fister, and Traffic Coordinating Committee member Al Williams reviewed the proposals and interviewed the representatives from the four companies.

In a memo for the council, Fister pointed out that the committee ultimately recommended that the city manage and operate the garage.

Because the parking garage likely will introduce paid parking in the downtown area, Fister said, the committee members believed that "it would be advantageous for the city to control the process and determine the parking rates without the assistance of a profit-making parking management company."

And, Fister added, the committee also believed that the city could manage the garage "at a lesser cost than most, if not all, of the companies' proposals."

Along with the discussion about management of the garage, Asaro said the matter of juror parking could also come up at Tuesday's workshop.

In other action, the council will:

• Conduct a closed-door executive session at 1:30 p.m. to discuss the city's position on its lawsuit against the Town of Prescott Valley over annexation of ranch land northeast of the city. The session also will deal with the purchase or lease of open space property.

• Conduct a public hearing on the Airport Specific Area Plan, which deals with about 50 square miles around the Prescott Airport. The agenda also allows for council adoption of the plan.

• Conduct a public hearing on the city's tentative budget for the 2001/2002 fiscal budget.

• Consider authorizing a mail ballot for the primary and general City Council elections this fall.

• Hear a proposal from open space advocate Eve Gill to name the hill next to Thumb Butte "Sierry Pete," commemorating the famous cowboy poem that Gail Gardner wrote, titled "The Sierry Pete" or "Tying the Knots in the Devil's Tail."

• Conduct a public hearing on the revised application for annexation of approximately 7,374 acres of land on the Granite Dells and Point of Rocks ranches.

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