McKINNEY (CBS11) – After voters rejected a parking garage in downtown McKinney more than a year ago, the city council has finally approved a plan it hopes will solve chronic parking problems without alienating the people trying to preserve the historic community.
With the popular downtown square just a few blocks away, the proposed site is tucked off to the side enough to be out of the way.
But at five stories tall, it’s not going to go unnoticed, so the question is, will people embrace this as the solution to what most everyone agrees is a serious problem.
Like a lot of downtown shoppers, Anne Davidoff knows she better get back to her car fast before her three-hour time limit expires and she gets another parking ticket.
“I am spending my time not enjoying shopping, worrying to death about when the hell I have to go get my car and try to find a place to move it, so I can park,” Davidoff said.
This has been a problem for years. But in 2015 voters like Toni Andrukaitis rejected a bond proposal to build a downtown garage. The latest proposal approved by council has the city leasing the garage from the property owner, a payment system that doesn’t require a popular vote.
“It’s like, oh the people on the square don’t want… they don’t want a parking garage. Oh yes they do. They just don’t want a monstrosity there,” Andrukaitis said.
“I’ve been doing this a long time, and I think frustration may not be the right word although it is a word that comes to mind from time to time,” outgoing Mayor Brian Loughmiller said.
Mayor Loughmiller tells CBS11 he’s confident the new structure can be built in a way that will not interfere with the aesthetics of the historic downtown district
“I said, well you know I’ve got 89 days left. Can you build this in 89 days? You know so I could see it, so it’s an important project,” Loughmiller said.
The design isn’t finished, but the mayor insists the area will have to find a parking solution, or many may simply choose to stop coming downtown.
“There are places to shop in Dallas. There are antique malls. We go to Waxahachie. We go to Fort Worth. We don’t have to put up with this,” Davidoff said.
The city has 30 days to reach a lease agreement with the developers. If that goes through, the plan is to begin construction sometime this spring.