Parking garage

City parking cost rises to $9 million

Kalispell City Council outlined plans for a new downtown parking structure in a short meeting on Monday where it was noted that the cost estimate for the project had risen to $9.2 million.

The 250-space garage would be funded by the city’s tax increment funding district. The original project cost estimate was $7 million.

City manager Doug Russell explained that the initial figure was only an estimate based on unforeseeable circumstances in an atmosphere of turbulent construction.

Russell also explained the purpose of authorizing a developer agreement with Montana Hotel Development Partners, LLC for parking at the city-owned parking lot at the corner of First Street West and First Avenue West. The agreement, which was approved by the council on Monday, spells out the financial details of the parking plans.

“It’s basically a sub-deal to the previous deal that we approved,” Russell said. “…It’s a good framework for identifying how our interactions are going to be with the developer during this process.”

The developer’s agreement describes the details related to the construction and financing of the parking lot, including repayments and guidelines for cooperation with credit institutions.

Board member Jessica Dahlman asked about the development and pre-development costs of the project. Development costs, Russell said, would come from the total cost of the project and be reimbursed either by tax increase funds generated by the Charles Hotel or by some of the parking spaces in the future garage.

Pre-development costs would also come from the existing downtown tax increment funding district, but would be reimbursed by the developer.

The board unanimously approved the developer’s agreement. Council member Sid Daoud said he was delighted to take a step forward with parking, ‘particularly as it is something that citizens have been asking for for several decades, it seems’ , did he declare.

THE COUNCIL ALSO unanimously approved an update to its floodplain policy, which had not been updated since 2015.

The new ordinance includes language clarification and updates based on annexations within the city limits that have occurred since the last update. The Floodplain Ordinance also adds a new Flood Insurance Rate Map panel to the Kalispell Town Floodplain Map, due to annexation which has occurred since 2015.

The Commission held a public hearing on March 7 regarding the proposed changes, but there was no public comment.

There were also no public comments on the floodplain ordinance on Monday, although there were two public comments unrelated to agenda items.

Diane Etter spoke out against the recent approval of Spring Creek Park, a large housing development with more than 600 units east of West Springcreek Road.

“Your lack of interest in the surrounding neighborhoods is appalling,” she told the council.

Etter also said she walked past each council member’s home to search for vacant land where her development experience could be replicated.

Sarah Lamb, who lives on Second Avenue West, also requested an additional patrol in her neighborhood after 3 a.m. because she said her vehicle had been broken into three times.

Journalist Bret Anne Serbin can be reached at 406-758-4459 or [email protected]

Deena S. Hawkins

The author Deena S. Hawkins