Overflow parking considered in Suamico
By Kevin Boneske
SUAMICO – As the village’s Tax Incremental District (TID) No. 2 continues to expand with businesses, limited parking has been magnified in the area, Village Administrator Alex Kaker said.
“Although public parking has been added over the last few years, the area could benefit from additional overflow parking locations,” he said. “I’ve been approached by multiple business owners within Historic Downtown Suamico requesting assistance on the issue.”
Kaker told the Suamico village board last month the property on the southwest corner of Riverside Drive and West Deerfield would be ideal, but it is currently going through an estate transfer and is unavailable for purchase.
“TID No. 2’s expenditure period (expires) Aug. 21, 2021,” he said. “What that means is you can’t start any new project after that date.
However, if you sign a contract prior to that date, the work can be done after Aug. 21.”
Kaker said he identified two possibilities for overflow parking in TID No.2.
He said the first option would be to create an accessible walking path from Riverside Drive to the existing gravel lot on the east side of Side Street.
Kaker said the lot would remain gravel and be maintained by the village.
“Side Street will need to be paved in the next few years, so including this in the scope of the project would allow for funding to come from TID No. 2, in lieu of the road reconstruction fund,” he said. “Signage would be needed.”
Kaker said a second option is to establish a lease agreement with Saint Benedict Church to promote its paved parking lot as overflow parking.
“It would include adding a walking path going north to the sidewalk on County B,” he said.
Kaker said a walking path south from Riverside Drive for this option would not be economically feasible because of the topography of the land east of West Deerfield.
He said signage would also need to be purchased, but this could be smaller than for Side Street because it would be the last option to direct people for overflow parking.
Kaker said the TID No. 2 project plan includes sidewalk and roadway improvements, so project funds could be used for overflow parking.
“Funding would come from TID No. 2,” he said. “In 2021, the village budgeted $900,000 for capital improvement projects. Due to the favorable bids that we received on the Riverside Drive project and the Vickery-Docter Park projects, less than $740,000 has been used.”
Kaker said the total cost for the proposed overflow parking project is estimated at $180,000, with about $40,000 for the paving of Side Street.
“If the actual cost of the project is around $180,000, TID No. 2 would still project to close in 2026 with a positive balance of over $700,000,” he said. “So, you do have the financial flexibility to go forward with the project.”
Kaker said vehicles are now parking in areas not designated for parking, and the gravel area on the east side of Side Street is being used as well, even though Station 1 Brewery and Music Hall, located in the former Suamico Fire Station No. 1, is not yet open to the public.
“I can only imagine when that (Station 1 Brewery and Music Hall) opens, we’re going to have even further issues out there,” he said.
Due to the tight timeline with the TID No. 2 expenditure period, Kaker said staff advertised the project for bids, which will be considered for approval at the board’s Aug. 16 meeting.
“I think Side Street’s definite (as an overflow parking location), but it’s not going to add a lot because it’s already being used,” Trustee Michelle Eckert said. “Benedict’s is fine, but it’s a little bit of a hike.”
Trustee Dan Roddan said he favored both options for overflow parking.
“Get it done, and at least we have some options…,” he said. “We can also eliminate it later.”
Trustee Sky Van Rossum said he also favored both parking options, which he called “only temporary solutions.”
“I think we’re going to continue to have this issue, and it’s probably going to grow…,” he said. “You get to a certain point when people come to Historic Downtown Suamico to patronize the businesses and go to the breweries and everything else, and they can’t get parking, they get kind of ticked off and word travels fast, and then you don’t have people coming to beautiful Historic Downtown Suamico.”