A parking study in 2017 sought to create a new inventory of the most heavily used areas at or near the waterfront in the downtown district. The city has since hired Walker Consultants to determine potential locations for a parking ramp.
The lot between First and Second streets, south of Washington Avenue and north of Franklin Avenue, was considered the best option for a multilevel ramp structure that could support an infill project in the Harbourfront Place parking lot.
The annual break-even cost for an about 300-space structure is $565,200, including capital and operating costs.
Annual operating expenses can range from $150 to $1,000 per space, according to the Walker Consultants report. The structure would be up to four stories, but there would be potential to add residential space above that height.
A paid parking system in Grand Haven would be necessary to fund the project, according to City Manager Pat McGinnis.
City Councilman Josh Brugger said a parking ramp would represent a big transition for Grand Haven.
“It’s almost as if we’re at a crossroads as a city,” he said. “Do we want to grow? Or are we good with where Grand Haven is at right now? That’s a tough one.”
If there was no parking fee, McGinnis said, a tax would be necessary to pay for building the structure. A fee system would be citywide, but primarily focused downtown. Paid parking at the City Beach, which took place in 2017, would be reinstated in this system.
McGinnis said the city will investigate other municipalities, such as St. Joseph and South Haven, which have paid parking systems.
The ramp would provide opportunities for more development downtown, McGinnis said, but a paid parking system could be implemented even without the prospect of a ramp.
The Grand Haven Main Street Downtown Development Authority will discuss paid parking at its November meeting, after which McGinnis said he would present a plan to council.