Manitou’s parking solutions

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A three-story parking garage next to the Stagecoach Inn on the eastern end of Manitou Springs was one of the most popular ideas presented during a meeting about how to solve the city’s parking issues last week.

The three-tier parking structure would cost an estimated $4.2 million to construct, would need $340,000 a year in debt service and cost the city $87,000 in maintenance annually, according to figures prepared by Kezziah Watkins, a Colorado Springs planning and consulting firm.

Building a three-level parking structure over the existing 80-space Wichita parking lot would increase spaces to 284.

The idea was one among 27 proposed. More than 90 people turned out for the parking discussion, said Dave Symonds, who owns the Craftwood and Stagecoach Inns and is the president of the newly-formed iManitou board.

“For a town of 5,000, I’d say that was a pretty good turnout,” he said.

Another idea presented was the purchase of the Tajine Alami Moroccan restaurant. One option would be to restore the historic building, which is currently listed on the MLS for $1.5 million, and open up 149 parking spaces to the east of the building. Another idea was to demolish the building, opening up 191 public parking spaces.

The cost for those plans range from $2.4 to $3.8 million.

“That idea wasn’t very warmly received,” Symonds said.

Some of the ideas, such as finding designated tour bus parking areas outside of the downtown corridor and sharing municipal parking areas at schools and government buildings, received universal support, but wouldn’t solve the parking problem.

Some ideas like enforced paid parking in the downtown core were well-received if they were applied in tandem with the creation of new parking areas like the proposed structure at the Wichita lot or the expansion of the Tajine Alami lot, Symonds said.

Paid parking downtown could encourage people to use parking outside of the center of town and could be used to help pay for larger parking projects.

But paid parking downtown by itself was not popular in discussion groups, Symonds said.

Establishing shuttle service and a remote lot for event parking also ranked high, though Symonds said it will take some work to get people to use a satellite lot. The city had shuttle parking for its wine festival earlier this month and transported just two carloads of people, he said.

Paid street parking received a 24 out of 100 for year-round enforcement and a 39 out of 100 for seasonal enforcement, according to preliminary numbers provided by the Manitou City Planning Department. The parking garage at the Wichita lot got a 72 out of 100 and the Tajine Alami lot had a score of 65 for refurbishing the building and 48 for demolishing it.

Kezziah Watkins is expected to compile and analysis of the worksheets and present them to the town with the next few weeks.

Once the city gets the final data analysis back, the city council will work with the community to make a decision and move forward with a parking solution, Snyder said.