On June 14th, a group named “Citizens For High Rock” held a forum on the proposed City Center Garage. At the meeting the group was highly critical of the City Center’s plan and argued that a mixed use facility should be built instead. The group talked about incorporating retail space and affordable housing units in the facility. Adding these new uses would require even more parking in addition to accommodating the needs already identified for the City Center and downtown. On its face, their suggestions sound like they would involve a very large facility.
I am extremely skeptical that these ideas can attract the kind of private money required for such an ambitious project. Having said that, I would be among the happiest people should I be proven wrong.
Commissioner John Franck announced at a June City Council meeting that he would be preparing an RFP for mixed use development plan. I just learned that Mayor Joanne Yepsen has taken over responsibility for drafting this RFP. I emailed John Franck last night asking why he had passed this on to the Mayor. When I get a response from Commissioner Franck, I will post it on this site.
Given my skepticism regarding such a project, I am concerned that this is simply going to lead to further delays. In that spirit, I emailed the following to Mayor Yepsen:
I understand that your office has taken over responsibility from John Franck for drafting the RFP related to the land currently under consideration for the City Center Parking Structure. I would be grateful if you could answer the following five questions.
- What comprises the physical footprint of the property that the RFP would address? I am not quite sure what the geographic scope of the land in question is.
- In your planning, what is the timeline for issuing a draft of the RFP?
- In your planning, when would you anticipate issuing the final RFP to solicit proposals?
- In your planning, when would you anticipate the date would be for when responses to the RFPs would be due?
- In your planning, when would you expect to either accept a proposal that met the RFP requirements or, in the event that no such proposal was received, to end the process?
Thank you in advance, for answering my questions.
I was careful to use the phrase “in your planning” because I understand that factors often arise that make rigid commitments problematic. Still, it seems eminently reasonable that in taking on this responsibility, the Mayor would have some targets as to when all of this would take place. Mayor Yepsen stressed in her last campaign for Mayor the accessibility of her office and the high standards for transparency her office would maintain. I would expect to get a response from her office fairly soon and will post it on this site when I receive it.