The city of Clinton has accepted the ACE Plaza parking lot as a donation, approving a feasible short-term approach to drainage issues that would allow the city to open the lot to the public and adopt a gradual approach to an estimated $130,000 in work.
City Council unanimously approved accepting the lot and spending $26,100 to make dire drainage improvements to the lot. City public works and utilities director Jeff Vreugdenhil called the proposal the “first phase of a parking lot restoration project.”
“I am confident the proposed drainage construction project would provide the adjoining properties a suitable solution to possible flooding issues,” said Vreugdenhil. “While there is no guarantee that additional sub-grade issues may arise which could increase project costs, I am reasonably confident the proposal accurately depicts the requirements needed without excessive risk.”
That risk, along with looming budget constraints that made costly repairs prohibitive, caused Council to delay accepting the donation from Beth Stewart, despite the lot offering another 40-plus spaces to the downtown parking inventory.
The donation of the lot, located between Lisbon and Wall streets, was tabled in March so city staff could get the full estimate of repairs, believing it to be between $50,000 and $100,000. The estimated price tag of $130,000 was provided in May, before the matter was again tabled.
The Council requested Vreugdenhil get an estimate on what it would cost to alleviate possible flood — and subsequently, liability — problems that come with the city’s acceptance of the donation. City manager John Connet told Council members the only negative to accepting the donation is that the city will incur those costs in repairing it. It would generate approximately 45 new spaces for the downtown area, likely another lot for free all day parking, he said.
“I think the parking lot would be a great asset to the city,” said Councilwoman Jean Turlington.
However, the $130,000 for repairs was significant and, as a basis for comparison, the city manager noted the parking lot at the City Market was purchased 20 years ago for $75,000.
Along with drainage problems, Vreugdenhil has said there are four separate type of materials that make up the lot currently. It would likely have to be completely overhauled and resurfaced as part of a larger project.
“The parking lot is very deteriorated with significant needs for drainage, subgrade and finish grade improvements,” he has noted. “Basically, there is no feasible way to resurface the parking lot given the grade of adjacent buildings and condition of the existing surface area.”
Mayor Lew Starling said the parking space would be useful to the city, and could be improved in future years as the budget allows. Vreugdenhil said the $26,100 proposal would go a long way toward covering the city against pressing problems until the larger needs are addressed.
“I am very comfortable that this proposal would limit the risk of flooding and would alleviate any problems,” said Vreugdenhil.
Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 121 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.