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Task force to discuss Rehoboth parking garage

Group to meet May 3 to take up design, leasing issues
April 30, 2019

A Rehoboth Beach task force will soon begin talks on a parking deck built adjacent to City Hall that would add 300 new spaces.

The task force was recommended by the city’s Parking Advisory Committee, which supports exploring a private/public partnership among the city, construction management firm EDiS Co. and Colonial Parking. The nearly $10 million mobility center would serve cars, scooters and bicycles.

“It needs to be further investigated,” committee chair Linda Kauffman said.

The current parking lot next to City Hall has 98 spaces, so the garage would net 202 additional spaces.

Among the concerns the committee discussed April 22, and that Kauffman said the task force would explore, are issues of land leasing, location, cost sharing and design.The task force will have its first meeting at 9 a.m., Friday, May 3, at City Hall. The group will include commissioners Lisa Schlosser, Stephen Scheffer and Pat Coluzzi; city projects coordinator Evan Miller, Streets and Transportation Committee Chairwoman Kathy Osterholm, Kauffman, Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Carol Everhart, Rehoboth Main Street President Edward Chrzanowski, Rehoboth business owner Bob Cartwright and Planning Commissioner Rick Perry.

“It’s much bigger than the parking committee,” Kauffman said. “We can participate, but it’s not ours to lead. It’s a city project.”

Colonial has proposed to lease the land, and EDiS and Colonial Parking would design, build, fund and manage the operation. Revenue would be split among the three partners.

Committee member Trey Kraus said, “Everybody, I think, is very interested in it.”

He said he would like to see the task force explore design issues, such as integrating it into the convention center.

When a new City Hall was first proposed in 2008, a parking garage was included. But those plans were scrapped, and when the idea of a new City Hall reemerged, a parking garage was not on the table.

Kraus, owner of Carlton’s on Rehoboth Avenue, said, he was concerned that visitors to Rehoboth were coming to town but not frequenting local businesses.

“We’re basically being used as a parking lot for people to go to the beach,” he said.

Committee member Mark Saunders said he was concerned about leasing land.

“My concern is they would be able to walk away. Lose nothing other than their time. We, the city, would have to take over that mortgage. We could have liability if they walk away. We want some sort of personal assurances they’re good for it.”

Another concern was about rate increases, but Kauffman said all rate increases would have to be approved by the partnership.

To see a link to the agenda, go to https://cityofrehoboth.civicweb.net/Portal/MeetingInformation.aspx?Org=Cal&Id=728