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Frequently Asked Questions
1) Why are we building a parking deck?
This area needs more parking now. Based on surveys City staff has performed in the last year, the City's parking spaces in and around Dickson Street - numbered spaces and gated lots - have been full 208 times in 2011 (full is defined as > 90% occupancy due to in and out transitional movement). Many of these times are in conjunction with events, many of which, but not all, are at the Walton Arts Center. The spaces are full during football games and other events as well.
Building a deck has been discussed for many years. There was a study completed in August 2005 by Martin Alexiou Bryson (MAB) for the City and the University of Arkansas that studied parking in the area. It concluded that a 1,200 space deck was required, on the assumption that certain planned developments occurred. The study identified that 800 additional parking spaces were needed for the area if the Walton Arts Center had no changes in operation. Adding in the potential 2,500 seat theater, the parking shortfall grew to 1,200 spaces. While the theater expansion has not occured, much other development has taken place, and there are two large additional developments currently underway on West Avenue between Dickson and Maple. The need for 1,200 spaces is not there right now, but there is absolutely a need for more parking than currently exists. Lack of convenient parking is still one of the most common complaints the City receives about the downtown Dickson area.
2) Where is the parking deck going to be located? Why?
The City has evaluated four potential sites near the Walton Arts Center, shown on the map Parking Deck Location Alternatives. All of these sites are land owned by the City or jointly by the City and the University of Arkansas. The true center of mass of the Dickson area is the intersection of Dickson and West. People want to park within a relatively close distance to their destination. Other parking decks - The Dickson (formerly called the Underwood Building), the Washington County Courthouse, the Central United Methodist deck - are further than patrons attending a more formal event or dinner want to walk, especially in cold, hot, or rainy weather.
On December 4, 2012, the City Council passed Resolution 238-12 to select the Theater Site, the block which contains the Walton Arts Center, as the future site of the Entertainment District Parking Deck.
3) How many parking spaces will there be?
The goal is to add approximately 300 parking spaces. A more precise estimate cannot be determined until the final design is completed.
4) Why build this deck now? Why not wait?
The shortage of parking exists right now, established by the number of times existing parking is full. Every time a citizen, guest, or visitor comes to the area and is frustrated by the lack of parking, we create an unhappy person who may not come back again. Clearly this is not how we want to treat our citizens, their guests, or visitors. Plus, businesses in the area lose customers every time our lots are full, and the City loses both the sales tax their business generates and the parking revenue their parking in a City space would create.
Construction costs are relatively low, and are only likely to increase with time. Waiting in a construction project almost always causes it to cost more, not less.
Interest rates for issuing bonds are very low, and are very unlikely to do anything but rise. Like construction costs, we do not know when they will start to go up, but waiting only increases the chances that they will increase. The more we have to pay in interest, the less money we have to build the deck.
5) Why are we building a deck for the Walton Arts Center?
We are not building this deck for the Walton Arts Center (WAC), nor for any other specific business in the area. We are building this for our citizens, guests, and visitors who visit Dickson Street and downtown area. These are not always the same people. The customers for a football game are not the same as for a comedian at the WAC, nor for Bikes, Blues, and Bar-B-Q, nor for a regular Friday or Saturday night, nor for Broadway play. Many different people attend each of these events. This parking deck will touch, and make life better, for many different people.
6) Will I have to pay for parking in the deck, or is it free?
The parking deck will be paid parking, operated in a manner similar to the existing gated parking lots. For further information, visit the Parking Management webpage or Chapter 72: Parking Regulations of the City Code of Ordinances.
7) How much will the deck cost to build?
Design and construction are estimated to cost approximately $5.5 million. Precise costs will not be known until a construction contract is awarded.
8) Will paying for the deck cause parking costs to increase?
No. All revenue estimates are based on current parking prices.
9) Who is on the City’s parking deck team? Why?
The City’s parking team consists of City staff, consultants hired by the City, and incorporates consultants hired by the Walton Arts Center (WAC). The combined team is led by City Utilities Director David Jurgens. The City element includes parking program personnel, planning staff, accounting staff, and construction management and inspection personnel. The consultant element is led by Ron Petrie of Garver Engineers, and includes representatives from AFHJ/AB Architecture, Carl Walker Parking Consultants, and includes a subcontract to Grubbs, Hoskyn, Barton & Wyatt Geotechnical Engineers. Additionally, in May of 2012 the Walton Arts Center hired Boora Architects to evaluate the WAC’s short and mid-range expansion needs and to identify how these expansions can integrate well with potential deck configurations. This ensures that a well thought out, integrated and comprehensive design will be developed that both meets the needs of today and allows for the expansions of the future. Because the WAC sits on one of the blocks where the deck may be built, close integration of future expansion needs is critical.
10) How many levels will there be?
The number of levels of parking is entirely dependent upon which design is chosen.
11) When is the expected construction and completion date of the deck?
A timeline can be found under the Milestones page. It will be updated as the project progresses.
12) How is the City paying for the deck?
The new deck is being paid for entirely by funds received by the downtown parking program. The City issued revenue bonds that will be paid by future parking revenues.
13) Is there room for more spaces in the future?
The ability to add more spaces in the future is one of the specific site selection criteria being evaluated. The potential expansion is entirely dependent upon which design is chosen.
14) Will the deck meet Planning and Development requirements?
Yes. The deck will go through the same planning and development process that other downtown area developments are required to meet. A member of the City’s Planning staff is on the parking deck team to ensure the deck meets these requirements as the project develops.
15) Will the deck meet the guidelines of the City of Fayetteville Downtown Master Plan?
Yes. The deck will meet the guidelines of the City of Fayetteville Downtown Master Plan that was completed in April 2004. Some of the specific guidelines are:
• Ensure adequate supply of parking for future growth (section 2.16)
• Parking should not be placed on corner lots at key intersections (section 2.17)
• Facilities could be city-owned, private, or public/private partnership (section 2.19)
• Maximize on-street parking (section 3.24)
• Structured parking located mid-block (section 3.24)
• Structured parking lined with habitable buildings (section 3.24
16) Will the deck be a LEED building?
Due to the design constraints of parking decks in general, there is no LEED certification available. Some sustainable design features may be included and will be considered in the final design.