The city of Stevens Point’s Plan Commission and Historic Preservation and Design Review Commission voted separately this week to approve a design for an $800,000 parking lot proposed for the space in the demolished center section of the former downtown mall.
“On January 24th we met with some of the surrounding property owners for this site,” said Michael Ostrowski, Community Development director, at the Monday, April 1, Plan Commission meeting. “With the mall demolition now complete, we’re looking at doing a parking lot in this center portion of the site where the mall once stood. We’re also looking at extending Strongs Avenue, essentially from Main Street all the way north to Centerpoint Drive.”
Ostrowski said the city engineering department’s first design included 142 parking stalls, and a 30-foot swath of green space between the Main Street buildings and the parking lot.
“At that meeting there were some questions as to was there the ability to add some additional parking,” he said. “So what we had done is we had come up with another plan, Plan 2, which would remove that green space area… this plan got it up to 15 additional parking stalls with the removal of that green space area. It also cut down on the ingress and egress points for the site.”
Commissioner Sarah O’Donnell asked who the feedback was from.
“Mr. (Tim) Schertz had indicated whether there could be some additional parking stalls,” said Ostrowski. “We also sent out this plan to the (10 to 12) people that we met with, asking ‘which plan do you prefer?’ The majority of the respondents preferred Plan 2.”
He said Ada Sanders, former owner of the Fox Theater, was in support of keeping the green space proposed in Plan 1.
“One of the concerns with the green space area is it is a narrow strip of green space area that isn’t really that functional,” said Ostrowski. “While aesthetically it provides a visual break, it’s about 30 feet wide, it’s about 8,000 square feet and it really isn’t that functional. You might go back there to sit and eat a sandwich in a park-type area, but to program events in that space, I think it’s going to be very difficult.”