Since early June, work crews in Houghton have been hard at work safely dismantling the city’s lakeshore drive parking deck. The phase did take a little longer than expected, but took longer out of an abundance of caution. Houghton City Manager Eric Waara says that the next phase will start soon after the last of the deck is cleaned up.
“For all intensive purposes the deck is down. And they are working on the clean up, that should finish this week. The steel will be out of there, the concrete will be out of there, the rebar will be out of there. They are working on the ramp right now, on Pewabic Street. Because that ramp has stairwells attached to the adjacent buildings, Si they are actually doing hand work this week. But right now , the deck is no longer there. So we’ve comet hroguh that phase of the project, where you are working with things, fighting gravity in some cases. The scary part of the project is over. “ – Eric Waara, City Manager, City of Houghton
When the street rehabilitation phase has finished later this year, the parking deck footprint will remain the same. City residents have voiced concern that there will not be enough parking in town without the deck. Waara says that Houghton will still have plenty of parking for visitors and residents, but the city will have to utilize the other parking lots the surround downtown.
“But w have a lot of under utilized parking around the city. Cause the deck was the Easy Button. For everybody, just park on the deck. And even at that, it was less than 50 percent utilized during peak hours. So a lot of the parking that was under utilized for place we didn’t do permit parking before, we are going to move some of that permit parking to those places. Which are literally a block away. So we’ll be working with a map, we’ve got a work group here made up of administration, the police department, parking enforcement, the department of public works, we are working on this plan for assigning things properly. And then kind of an overhaul as well on the general parking scheme downtown to hopefully make it easier.” – Eric Waara, City Manager, City of Houghton
Phase two of the parking deck project will start sometime during the next week. Houghton city officials expect the full extent of the project will finish around October this year. In the meantime Houghton does plan to work with businesses and residents on a permit parking system that is effective and convenient for where people are going in downtown