LAKELAND – Some skepticism about a $75,000 project to scout locations for a new parking garage downtown didn’t prevent the City Commission from unanimously approving the expenditure Tuesday morning.
A parking garage, initially pitched as a way to encourage large employers to expand downtown, is now being spoken of in terms of block-sized redevelopment and densification. The city is eyeballing four locations, three owned by private entities.
The commission hired Kimley-Horn and Associates, a civil engineering firm, to perform a “due diligence study.” As part of it, the firm and the city will reach out to the private owners to gauge interest in potential partnerships. The final report will include conceptual site plans that could show how the locations could accommodate a garage and new retail and office space on the ground floors.
Commissioner Jim Malless questioned city staff members on whether the four locations remained relevant to the discussion as two of the properties changed hands in November.
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