A construction crew welds materials to the outside of the parking garage Aug. 11 in Aggieville. Construction on the garage began in December 2020 and is scheduled for completion in early 2022. The project will add about 500 parking spaces, a bike parking room, and about 8,000 square feet of potential tenant space.

Manhattan city commissioners want to use parking fees in Aggieville to cover the estimated $400,000 annual cost of the new parking garage.

Andrew Vidor of Walker Consultants, which the city hired to come up with a parking plan, on Tuesday gave Manhattan city commissioners a presentation on the proposed parking program for Aggieville and the parking garage.

Vidor gave commissioners two options for handling the annual operations and maintenance cost: paying through the general fund, which comes from property taxes, or establishing parking fees.

Vidor recommended parking fees for on- and off-street parking in Aggieville.

For on-street parking, he proposed the first 30 minutes free, then a $1 hourly rate after that with a two-hour parking limit with no overnight parking.

Off-street parking, which includes the parking garage under construction and the two surfaced lots at 12th and Laramie, would have the first 30 minutes free with a 50 cents per hour charge for a maximum $2 daily fee with no overnight parking. Along with those parking options, Vidor proposed monthly permit passes of $30 (standard) and $20 (part-time) intended for employers and workers in Aggieville.

Walker Consultants estimated the fees would generate nearly $800,000 annually.

The proposed fee hours for the parking garage are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. After 8 p.m., the garage parking would be free with no overnight parking.

The commission didn’t take action Tuesday. Officials are still discussing the hours of operation and rates, including a flat fee for after-hours parking.

Commissoner Linda Morse said she does not want the cost to fall on tax payers.

“This has to pay for itself,” Morse said. “The tax payers should not be burdened because we didn’t plan well, and we didn’t estimate appropriately.”

Other Aggieville projects

Olsson, an engineering and design firm, presented updated plans for the completion of various Aggieville projects.

These projects include improving road paving, curbs, sidewalks and utility lines through the district.

Olsson plans to have its 90% completion plan done by Sept. 30 for commission approval.

Construction will happen in three separate phases. Phase 1 is tentatively set for March through September 2022, Phase 2 would be September to November 2022, and Phase 3 would be September 2022 through June 2023.

The project comes as Back 9 Development works on creating “Fuze,” a proposed $40 million commercial and residential building to replace the parking lot on 12th and Laramie.

“My feeling on phasing and everything, it looks like it could have very comprehensive planning,” Mayor Wynn Butler said. “I’m all in favor of what you (Olsson) have there, and it has enough flexibility to adapt if we have issues with Fuze and some of the other things, so I think its an excellent plan.”

Back 9, which has a pre-development agreement with the city government, plans to present a finalized plan with a design, budget and timeline later this year or early 2022.

Commissioner Usha Reddi said she likes the plans but wants to make sure the infrastructure in the project is done properly the first time.

“Seeing it looks great, but we’re talking about all the systems that are at work and thats not the sexy stuff, is what we want to also take care of,” Reddi said.