BLACKFOOT – The Blackfoot Urban Renewal Agency (BURA) listened to input from community member and businesswoman Beverly Beach Tuesday morning, suggesting a potential purchase by BURA or the City of Blackfoot of property near downtown Blackfoot to turn into a parking lot or structure.
Beach, whose family has owned buildings and businesses in the historic downtown part of Blackfoot, started this dialogue two months ago and suggested that they purchase multiple buildings on Pacific Street, just across Broadway from City Hall. The buildings on the suggested locations would then be demolished and basements filled with plans of turning it into a parking area for the gentrification-in-progress downtown area.
The message from the previous two meetings changed during Tuesday’s meeting, where Beach alerted the board members that her daughter had sold one of the buildings to Mary Morrison Monday, and they would have to work with her to secure the plan if they were interested. Beach turned her focus from the lot idea to bolstering local business in the area. She was allowed to give her opinion before the board moved on to the next topic on the agenda.
Once the agenda reached the Mayor Update, Mayor Marc Carroll provided input about parking in downtown Blackfoot. He had expressed that City Planner Kurt Hibbert along with himself have explored options about building an underground parking structure behind the Milmor Hotel, with required discussion with owner Justin Oleson, as well as modifications that would be needed to assure that an underground structure would be safe. Oleson attended the meeting as well, and explained that the idea was brought before him to donate the space to allow the parking structure which would help offset the amount that BURA granted to him for the refurbishing of the Milmor location.
Carroll explained that they had contacted a company out of Utah that has four different sizes of structures that they install, but when hit with the price tag, the idea of building the structure was dead on arrival. The contractor charges on average more than $1 million for their smallest structure, which would be the appropriate sizing for the space behind the Milmor.
Although no decision was made about going forward with a parking structure or lot, the shared information provides jumping off points for those who want to support a new parking area.