Posted at: 04/29/2013 5:56 PM
The city says a downtown parking garage is in need of millions of dollars in major maintenance and repairs. The city says the East End Parking Garage has structural issues that need to be addressed. Those repairs come with a $5 million price tag for city taxpayers.
Hundreds of people use the East End Parking Garage every day and any project of this magnitude is likely to cause some disruption. But the city says the repairs are a high priority and require the necessary funds to avoid any big problems down the road.
From the looks of the East End garage, you might not think it needs a five million dollar facelift. But in a report to City Council, engineering experts say the garage needs major work to drainage, waterproof sealing and the steel tension wires and concrete that make up the floor decking.
The garage, located between East avenue and Main street, has the capacity to hold more than 1,300 cars and brings in revenue of a million dollars a year. The original structure was built in 1981 and an addition was added in the 1990's.
A city spokesman says the aging problems of the garage don't pose a danger or threat. However, the city acknowledges the East End garage does have many similarities to the South Avenue Garage. In 2006, the helix of the South Avenue Garage collapsed. The city engineer says the East End structure is showing some signs of age and feels the investment is necessary now.
James McIntosh, City engineer, said, “If we don't start now and we don't do some of the things like maintain the floor-ceiling to keep the salt from getting in and making the problem worse, then we will have some issues."
Carolee Conklin, City Council, said, “If it's a garage owned by the city of Rochester, it would be like every other garage we own that the city has a responsibility of not only maintenance, but repairs."
News10NBC's Brett Davidsen said, “Where does the city come up with five million dollars to pay for it?”
Carolee Conklin: "It would be bonded, and it's really an exciting time to go out for bonding right now with the rates being charged."
A lot of this is being addressed now because the city is in the process of taking over the ownership of the East End Garage from the Cultural Center Commission, which is jointly funded by the city and county and is being dissolved.
News10NBC asked city officials how the repairs will impact those who use the garage. They hope to do the necessary work in sections, keeping the garage open. As for whether it will result in increased parking fees, right now, they say it is too early to say.