New Questions Surround Parking Garage Plan
Some Say City Caused Broad Ripple Parking Problems
Last Updated: 674 days ago
Some taxpayers are raising new concerns about Indianapolis' plan for a $15 million mixed-use parking garage in Broad Ripple, claiming the city contributed to the parking problem by granting too many parking variances to businesses.Taxpayers will pay $6.4 million for the parking garage, 6News' Kara Kenney reported."(The parking garage) addresses the symptoms. It doesn't address the root cause of the problem, which is the liberal dispensing of zoning variances over the last two decades," said Clarke Kahlo, of Meridian Kessler Neighbors Helping Neighbors. "That falls squarely in the lap of the city administration over the past two decades."Kahlo referred to a 2007 study from Walker Parking Consultants that found parking issues arose mostly after 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Kahlo contends that the parking garage is not needed."If you visit Broad Ripple after about 9 to 10 p.m., it's almost like 'Animal House,'" Kahlo said.Deputy Mayor of Economic Development Mike Huber said he disagrees with the contention that the parking garage isn't needed."The parking variances is something we definitely need to look at, but it's also something that's been happening over many, many years," Huber said. "What we're trying to do is respond to this need that's existed for a long time within Broad Ripple for a structure."At the Broad Ripple Village Association's quarterly meeting Tuesday, the city and the parking garage developer touted the project, saying it would both ease parking woes and spur additional economic development.Some attendees questioned the safety of the Broad Ripple Avenue and College Avenue location, while others wanted to know more about the appearance of the garage.Other questions were similar to those raised by the 6News Watchdogs in a story last month, including campaign donations by the developer to Mayor Greg Ballard, why taxpayers will not share in the revenues of the garage and what some call a lack of transparency.The city and developer have not revealed the purchase price of the property."I feel we're being as transparent as we can for a few reasons. All seven competitive bids are all online," said Huber. "I do feel looking at just the parking revenues the city can collect is short-sighted. We feel it's better if it's privately owned and managed, put back on the tax rolls, because that formula generates more taxes for the city."Some taxpayers disagreed."I think that's very problematic. There's no city control and no city ownership or stake in the project after it's been initiated," said Kahlo.Conrad Cortellini said the garage will discourage people from walking, biking and taking mass transit to Broad Ripple."It's the proverbial putting lipstick on the pig," said Cortellini. "We don't want the pig. Art is not going to make it more acceptable."Project officials are trying to determine how to design and decorate the garage to make it fit in with the rest of Broad Ripple Village.Work on the parking garage is expected to begin as early as this fall and open next year.