Pat Coleman from North of 45 presented to the Houghton Planning Commission on Tuesday evening regarding the results from the two nights of public engagement discussing what will replace the downtown parking deck. Coleman is a winter city expert and has worked with Houghton in the past on a variety of issues, including the development of the Master Plan.
The city has committed to taking down the parking deck at a time yet to be determined. It hopes to have a vision for what comes next finalized to transition seamlessly from the present into the future. Several committee members weighed in. Michell Jarvie-Eggart said walkability should be stressed, with Coleman suggesting heated pavement to help alleviate hazards from ice and snow.
One of the concerns from businesses in the area is the potential effect on commercial unloading. There is limited room on Shelden Avenue, and many use the access to the deck to ferry inventory inside. Dan Liebau said the ground floor is viable for that task as well.
Manager Eric Waara discussed what would be needed to pay for the removal of the existing deck. It could be offset through tax revenue generated by development worth at least $11 million. The site is 1.7 acres, more than enough room to foster a project sufficient to reach that mark. Waara pointed out that the prior proposal from Veridea Group of Marquette was expected to be valued at around $20 million.