Downtown Parking Garage Project
The City of Georgetown has been working to evaluate and address parking concerns for the downtown area for several years. As businesses continue to open and grow in downtown, existing and available space for parking diminishes, and we risk losing visitors and patrons to our beautiful, vibrant downtown.
Research and recommendations for parking solutions have been informed by numerous City Council discussions and presentations, a Downtown Parking Study from 2015, the Downtown Master Plan, land-use codes, planning, public engagement about the design, a stakeholder steering committee, and others.
In the fiscal year 2020 capital improvements project budget, the Georgetown City Council voted to include $5 million toward the construction of a garage that would add more than 150 parking spots. As of February 2020, the City is working with the Georgetown City Council to create a new scope of our existing contractor, Wantman Group, Inc. (WGI). The new scope would direct WGI to evaluate the parking needs downtown, develop criteria for how the firm will assess potential sites for future parking garages, and include the public in key decision points.
The Council is expected to vote on the new scope and public engagement plan at its regular meeting March 24. Public engagement opportunities is expected to last the month of April, and we anticipate WGI will present its findings in late summer 2020.
The City of Georgetown is committed to addressing the need for parking in downtown in a way involves as many stakeholders as possible. If you live, work, or visit downtown, you are a stakeholder in this project, and we hope you’ll share your experiences and preferences with us.
If you have questions or comments about the project, contact the City at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meetings and supporting documents
- March 10, 2020: Council workshop on parking garage: video
- Parking Design Committee presentation at council workshop, 3-10-2020
- Downtown Parking Garage public engagement presentation at City Council workshop, 3-10-2020
- Feb. 11, 2020: Council Workshop on parking garage: video
- Jan. 14, 2020: Council Workshop on parking garage: video
- 2015 Downtown Parking Study
- 2014 Downtown Master Plan
- Downtown Parking Garage survey results 2019: We received 1,375 responses, including 1,192 comments. Most indicated they preferred traditional, brick and glass structure to a more modern look.
Parking garage design concepts
The Council-appointed Downtown Parking Garage Stakeholder Steering Committee met nine times throughout 2019 and 2020 to develop recommendations on the design of a parking garage at 6th and Main streets. Although the City current is reevaluating potential sites, the general design concepts were made in a way to fit any potential location.
The Committee formally proposed two design concepts (below), both of which involve a traditional, brick façade – reflecting the feedback we heard from the public in Fall 2019. Options for the final design include putting one floor below ground level and adding façade around the entire structure, both of which would add to the cost of the structure.
Later in this process, once a site has been identified, we will ask the public for feedback about design options prior to a Council decision on the final design of a parking garage downtown.
Downtown Parking Garage Frequently Asked Questions
Why are we considering a parking garage now?
The 2015 Downtown Parking Study recommended short-, mid- and long-term solutions. Many of the short-term solutions have been implemented, including expanding and enhancing surface parking and increasing enforcement for three-hour limited parking.
The City has seen robust development during the past four years, with eight new businesses opening in 2019 and 11 more currently in development. As the intensity of use increases for the downtown area, parking needs increase. According to estimates from the Planning Department, the new businesses that have come to downtown would have been required to add nearly 700 parking spots, had the businesses been constructed outside of the downtown area.
The proposed first garage presents a mid-term parking solution that fits the City budget and addresses parking for the square in a convenient location. This project is expected to help address the additional parking needs due to increased activity so that visitors are not tempted to utilize on street parking in the adjacent neighborhoods.
How many spaces were available in downtown in 2015? In 2019?
The 2015 Parking study included the Monument Café lot and the North Library parking lot and included 610 lot spaces. With the sale and development of city owned properties, 83 spots were reduced for public use. In addition, 24 spaces were utilized with the development of the Watkins building (on a non-city owned lot that was used by the public). The expansion of the Sunflower lot (currently under construction) will net an additional 66 spaces. The parking garage is expected to increase overall public parking by 158 spaces.
How would the parking garage be funded?
The cost and financing for the garage will depend upon the location and design. The proposed garage had a budget of $5 million, with debt that is amortized during 20 years. The annual payments of the debt were budgeted to be split equally between the property tax rate for the entire city tax base and the Downtown Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone Fund (only downtown properties). The Downtown TIRZ is already in place and the revenue comes from existing taxes.
Will the City only ever build one garage?
The City will continue to evaluate parking needs for the downtown area, consistent with the parking study and the master plan. The first garage likely will be followed by a second garage in the future, when demands increase. The City is also making other parking improvements, including expanding the Sunflower lot (across from library), which is property the City leases from Williamson County. The County retains the right to use that lot to address their future facility needs.
How many total parking spaces would be created in the parking garage?
The total number of spaces ultimately would be determined in the location and final design of the garage. Council directed staff to create a minimum of 150 net new parking spaces.
Will it cost money to park in the garage?
The City does not intend to charge for parking in a garage during the first few years, but may choose to charge or limit parking during special events (for example, may consider the garage being utilized for ADA parking during festivals). Future Councils may choose to change this policy if needs and demands change in the future.
If a garage is approved, what would the tentative schedule look like?
If Council approves a contract to design and build a parking garage downtown, it would be at least two years before anyone could park in the garage. During that time, use and visits to downtown will continue to grow.
The preliminary schedule for the initial garage showed:
- 24 weeks for design
- 18 weeks for HARC/site/building plan review
- 8-10 weeks for bidding and award
- 1 year for construction
Why is the City considering building a garage at 6th and Main?
The 2014 Downtown Master Plan update recommended the City view parking as a utility versus a land use because it provides a service that customers use. The Master Plan also identified four potential parking garage locations and recommended that the City initiate a study to study the issue more closely. Of those four locations, only two are owned by the City. The Downtown Parking Study was completed in 2015 and studied various locations, including the location currently planned at Main and Sixth streets.
This location is owned by the City and is conveniently located close to the square. The smaller scale provides an opportunity to improve current parking inventory as opposed to waiting 10 to 15 years to be able to afford to build the larger structure planned at Ninth and Main streets in the future. This location also would take fewer spaces off line during construction than the future, larger location.
However, given public interest and Council direction, staff is asking our consultant to reassess parking needs downtown, and evaluate potential sites by criteria established with public feedback.
If a garage is constructed at 6th and Main, where can I park during construction of the parking garage?
These free parking lots downtown are available:
- Red Poppy Lot at Ninth and Main streets: 136 spaces
- Sunflower Lot at Eighth and Martin Luther King Jr. streets: 140 spaces
- Daisy Lot at Fifth Street and Austin Avenue: 108 spaces
- Williamson County public parking garage at Third and Rock: 400 spaces
Will renovations at 101 E. Seventh St., the former Council Chamber and Municipal Court building, affect parking?
The City has agreed to provide use of a portion of the property that will become the garage for use during structural enhancements to 101 Seventh St. Staff is communicating regularly with the owner on project schedules. According to the current project schedule, no conflict is anticipated. Staff will continue to coordinate with the building owner to mitigate any conflicts if schedules shift.
What will happen to spaces next to Galaxy Bakery?
The 18 parking spaces next to Galaxy Bakery are included in the 47 total spaces for the Bluebonnet Lot. The City is considering the potential future use of this site.
Provide an update on surface parking lot construction north of Library. Why was a parking garage not built on the County property?
The Sunflower Lot is in the process of being expanded by 66 addition parking spaces. Construction should be complete in early 2020. Since the property is owned by the County and leased by the City, the City cannot build a parking structure on the lot.
What is the Downtown Parking Garage Stakeholder Steering Committee?
This committee was established in 2019 to provide input to the City staff and Council about a potential parking garage. Its members were appointed by the City Council. View meeting agendas and minutes here.