MANITOU SPRINGS, Colo. - Manitou Springs is considering the construction of a parking garage to address the town's demand for parking, especially in summertime.
The Metropolitan Parking District has proposed building a new parking garage on the site of the current Wichita parking lot in the 700 block of Manitou Avenue.
The plan calls for a three-level, two-story garage on the existing parking lot of 86 spaces. This would add 140 spaces for a total of 228.
It's unclear how the district, comprised of a group of downtown merchants, will pay the $6 million estimated cost of the project.
"We may sell bonds, borrow the money and repay it with revenue from the garage," said Randy Hodges, district chairman and a City Council member. "We'd start construction next fall and have it ready by the spring of 2019."
In a January survey of 70 downtown Manitou businesses, more than 80 percent of them supported the garage concept.
Sandra Vagelatos, owner of House of Jerky across the street from the proposed location, is one of the opponents.
"I agree that we need more parking," she said. "But I don't think a parking garage is a good fit. This is an older, small town and a garage doesn't work."
Several drivers said a parking garage would be unsightly and produce a noisy construction zone that would ruin the town's atmosphere.
Other drivers wonder why a garage isn't being planned for the free parking lot on the east end of town.
Most drivers who spoke with KRDO NewsChannel 13, however, said they approve of the parking garage plan.