City, County likely to work out parking agreement

Published 10:16 am Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Austin City Council could work out a deal with the Mower County board to swap parking stalls and buy a parking lot to prepare for the Spam Museum’s upcoming move.

County commissioners and city council members discussed the issue as part of a joint city/county meeting Wednesday.

The city is proposing to switch 19 parking stalls from the city-owned lot on the west side of First Street Northeast between Third and Fourth Avenues (next to the B&J Bar & Grill) with the county-owned parking lot directly south of that location.

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The city could then use those stalls as RV and camper parking for the Spam Museum, though the city and county will have to decide who’s responsible for keeping those spaces clean during the winter.

“The logistics have to get worked out,” Finance Director Tom Dankert said.

In addition, city officials hope to buy the Old Library parking lot at First Street and Second Avenue Northwest to have extra parking in downtown Austin. City officials thought there were 36 stalls available, but County Coordinator Craig Oscarson said the county has already sold off part of that parking lot.

Oscarson said commissioners had previously sought to open that land to public bidding but may jump at the chance to sell the parking lot to the city. The county has already gotten the land appraised, according to Oscarson, but he didn’t disclose the lot’s appraised value as he wanted to inform all of the county board of the city’s intent to buy the property. Oscarson and Board Chairman Tony Bennett said the county board would consider the proposal Tuesday.