Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Business

City Hall site is among Treasure Island parking garage options

TREASURE ISLAND — City officials are looking at three options for building a parking garage to spur downtown redevelopment, including one that would raze City Hall.

Timothy Haahs and Associates Inc. from Georgia presented a feasibility study to commissioners Tuesday suggesting three potential city-owned sites that would provide 350 to 400 parking spaces in a three- to four-story structure.

One site is across from the beach on Gulf Boulevard and 104th Avenue, currently a paid parking lot. Another is adjacent to the city Community Center on Park Place and 106th Avenue, which is now green space. The third is the current site of City Hall on 108th Avenue.

Commissioners appear to be leaning toward the third option, saying City Hall is aging and needs to be replaced.

"This building is living on borrowed time," said Commissioner Phil Collins, adding that the building is 50 years old.

City Hall is also adjacent to the city's sewage pump station, which makes the property problematic when considering other development plans, officials said.

City staff is expected to put together a strategic plan using the feasibility study and come back to commissioners in two weeks with recommendations.

"We want to bring to the commission a road map answering what do we do next," said City Manager Reid Silverboard.

Original plans for building the Community Center included having a second story that could house city offices, Silverboard said, responding to questions from commissioners about where a new City Hall could be located.

"We need to investigate whether the foundation is there to support that," he said.

The possibility of building a four-story garage near the beach on Gulf Boulevard at a cost of $6.7 million drew the ire of Commissioner Alan Bildz, who said he was "adamantly opposed" to the idea.

"Who wants to put a big parking structure on the beach?" he asked.

Initial cost estimates for putting a garage near the Community Center or at City Hall is estimated at $5.4 million.

But commissioners suggested using all the city-owned property along 108th Avenue, which includes City Hall, the police and fire stations, and public works to extend the size of the parking structure.

"That would definitely make it more efficient," said Michael Martindill, vice president of Timothy Haahs and Associates.

Another option staff will include in a final report is the possibility of locating City Hall on top of a garage structure at the current City Hall site.

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