The Duluth City Council voted Monday (Feb. 25) to acquire land for more downtown parking with the purchase of vacant property known as “The Hole” behind City Hall.
The council unanimously authorized Mayor Nancy Harris to purchase 3.46 acres at Hill Street and Ridgeway Road near Towne Park Place Condominiums at a price of $500,000. The property is currently owned by a bank.
“This is a critical piece of real estate,” Councilman Kelly Kelkenberg said. “It’s important to us for a lot of reasons.”
The vote was taken in a called meeting after the council emerged from executive session. The motion to proceed with buying the land was made by Councilman Greg Whitlock and seconded by Councilwoman Marsha Bomar.
“We’re using parking SPLOST money to buy it [the property], Harris said. The land will be paid for with 2009 SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) funds, she said.
The property has been utilized in the past for overflow parking at city events. A previous owner of the property had suggested that the city share the cost of building a two-story parking deck on it. The lower level would have been underground due to the topography of the land.
Asked by Duluth Patch if the city planned to build a parking deck there, Mayor Harris replied: “We haven’t gotten that far yet.”