City faces spendy parking ramp future


HURON — After a recent inspection by Infrastructure Design Group Inc., the city engineering department is recommending that the 32-year-old parking ramp at the Huron Event Center and Crossroads Hotel be demolished and replaced with a street level parking lot.
It would likely cost about $1.7 million to repair the existing structure over a period of years, while demolishing it and replacing it would cost about $1.1 million.
The existing ramp is in need of structural repairs in order to maintain the current loading capacity, said City Engineer Brett Runge in a presentation to the City Commission on Monday. Commissioners held a work study session to discuss the situation and will need to take action in the near future.
The September inspection found noticeable grade separation, significant deterioration and spalling, poor ride quality and tripping hazards for pedestrians, among other problems.
Also, deteriorating conditions are found at the lower level access ramps, the stairwell and the street level parking deck.
The structure is currently posted for a maximum weight limit of two tons per vehicle. A proposed street level parking lot could be built on the site of the existing ramp with a reconfiguration of parking stalls and elimination of the lower level ramps and stairwell.
Existing parking stalls are narrow with perpendicular parking that is difficult to use. The proposed layout provides wider stalls at an angle.
A street level lot would significantly reduce future maintenance costs, Runge said.
The hotel and restaurant require 170 spaces. The proposed street level layout provides 179 spaces.
In his summary, Runge said parking ramp repairs are expensive and maintenance will continue to cost significantly more than maintenance on a street level lot.
Meanwhile, variances for an attached garage and a church addition, and a conditional use permit to allow apartment units on the main level of a downtown building were approved.
Convening to consider the applications as the board of adjustment, commissioners approved a variance requested by Margaret Moes, 1435 Fourth St. S.W., to construct an attached garage about 25 feet from the north property line where code requires a 30-foot rear yard setback.
They approved a variance filed by Hope Lutheran Church, 1667 Frank Ave. S.E., to build an addition that will be eight feet from the west property line where code requires that churches provide a minimum 50-foot setback from any lot line abutting a residential district.
After lengthy discussion, commissioners passed a motion with conditions: that a storm drainage plan be approved by the engineering department, that a gravel area of the existing concrete parking lot be paved within one year of the start of the building construction and that a six-foot-tall opaque privacy fence be installed between the addition and neighbors.
Brenda Cano, 1638 Beach Ave. S.E., objected to the variance, saying the addition will mean more shade in her back yard, will hurt her property value and will block the flow of air to her yard. Jason Bechtold, 1648 Beach Ave. S.E., voiced opposition at the hearing examiner meeting last week, primarily because of storm water concerns.
Commissioners also approved a conditional use permit requested by Evangelina Aguirre, project address 149 Dakota Ave. S., to construct two apartment units on the main level of the building. The permit is required in the general business district.
Approval came with the condition that two parking spots be made available at the rear of the building.
Commissioners also:
• Approved the regular status of Sonia Caban, 911 telecommunicator, after completion of her probation.
• Promoted Phillip Van Diepen from patrol officer to patrol sergeant.
• Approved requests for special event on-sale alcoholic beverage licenses filed by the South Dakota State Fair for the Heartland Pool Tournament April 5-7 at the Nordby Exhibit Hall and a wedding reception April 20 at the Women’s Building.
• Approved a third party pledge agreement with Dakota Energy Cooperative for the Horizon Industrial Park.
• Renewed a management agreement for the Huron Event Center with Top Floor Events LLC.
• Authorized the police department to apply for grant funds for seatbelt and speeding enforcement overtime for fiscal 2019-2020.
In the current fiscal year, the department has been making use of $16,417 in grant funds for seatbelt and speeding enforcement overtime.
There is no cost to the city. Eighty percent is paid by the federal government and the 20 percent local match can be done by using normal patrol hours the department already pays for.

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