Capitola gets $40,000 from feds for parking garage study

The city is getting a belated, but welcome, gift: A $40,000 grant from the federal Economic Development Administration to analyze the feasibility of a three-story parking structure in the upper lot behind City Hall.
Federal officials announced the grant Monday.

City Manager Richard Hill proposed applying for the grant to study options for expanding parking in Capitola Village, and the City Council concurred in May.

Vice Mayor Dennis Norton hailed the grant, saying a three-story parking garage could solve the existing shortage and provide parking for a new hotel proposed for Capitola Village.

In the winter, the parking lot behind City Hall is rarely full. But on summer weekends, it can be impossible for visitors headed to the beach to find a spot to park.

In December 2008, RBF Consulting calculated the parking shortfall to be 176 spaces, based on demand of 1,212 at the peak for 1,036 spaces.

That was before the city gave Barry Swenson Builder permission to demolish the vacant Capitola Theater at 120 Monterey Ave. Swenson wants to build a hotel at that location, a project for which parking would have to be provided, and has been talking with neighbors about it.

A 10-member commission appointed by the council has been meeting to study traffic and parking and recommend long-term solutions.

The city created the upper parking lot after buying the Pacific Cove Mobile Home Park more than two decades ago. It also owns a half dozen coaches in the park but a decision on the future of the park has not been made.

Jeanne Roddy, who lives at the mobile home park, called the parking study "a step in the right direction to find out the feasibility both structurally as well as a cost-benefit analysis long-term."
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