Construction of the new parking lot on Front Street between Cedar and Stafford streets is a very worthwhile investment for Downtown Washington. Still to be approved by the city council is lighting, which is a small expenditure in this major project.
The city is using revenue from the Downtown Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district to pay for the concrete and asphalt work, which is a $120,289 expenditure that includes fencing along the railroad tracks on the north side of the lot. Parking lot lighting would add about $10,000 to the project cost. That money also would come from TIF revenue.
The 93 parking spaces in the lot will have more of an impact than just for parking. It is an added feature to making the riverfront more attractive, and it gives added credence to the goal of preserving the core of the city. That sends a message, especially to visitors and to prospective investors that this is a progressive city.
To some people, a parking lot along the railroad tracks, with the Missouri River in the background, may not incite excitement, but to others it is appealing.
The mayor and city council were wise to approve this project. It’s a civic project well worth the money, and it will have a lasting, positive impact.