Breck parking structure gets OK
BRECKENRIDGE – After years of studies and discussions, officials gave the go-ahead to build the town’s first parking structure at the Exchange Lot at the corner of Ridge Street and Lincoln Street.The pricey construction project will begin in the spring and continue through the end of the summer.The existing lot will be reconfigured and decked to provide a net gain of 39 parking spaces, for a total of 95 spots. The estimated construction cost is $1.675 million, with design costs of $135,000, for a total project cost of $1.81 million, according to town engineer Eric Guth, which means the new parking spots cost about $46,000 to $49,000 each.”I’d like to see this completed on time and under budget,” said Mayor Ernie Blake, asking staff to keep close tabs on the construction process.The addition of the new parking spots was hailed by members of the town’s burgeoning arts community, who thanked the town council for approving the parking structure during a work session last week.”This is an elegant solution to a good problem,” said Robin Theobald, referring to the parking crunch that shows how popular Breckenridge is as a destination.The town council was ultimately unified in its support for the structure, but several of the elected officials raised some caveats about management of the new parking spaces.”I don’t want to spend $49,000 per space for employee parking,” said Councilmember Eric Mamula. Another concern is the temporary impacts, including the loss of existing spaces, during construction, Mamula said, calling on the town to mitigate those effects on nearby businesses.The council decided to leave the management discussion for another day, but raised the possibility of using permit parking in part of the new structure as a way to make sure it’s meeting its intended purpose.At one time, the town was eyeing construction of a big central parking structure somewhere outside the downtown core. But over the years, the emphasis has shifted, said spokesperson Kim DiLallo.”We have little pockets here and there that we’ll be utilizing,” DiLallo said, explaining that Breckenridge has learned about how to meet its parking needs by looking at other communities.In Aspen, for example, some visitors are reluctant to use a large central parking structure, preferring to look for alternative spots in town, she said.And a large central structure in Breckenridge wouldn’t fit with the town’s overall long-term vision, she concluded.The town has also been considering a new structure at the Courthouse Lot, but that plan is still subject to further discussion.Bob Berwyn can be reached at (970) 331-5996, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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