Sunday, May 24, 2020

Moab, UT

65 F
Moab
More

    City nixes parking structure, seeks new UDOT deal

    Featured Stories

    Arches, Canyonlands to reopen May 29

    Arches and Canyonlands national parks will partially reopen to the public at the end of the month, according to a spokesperson for the parks, following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local public health authorities.

    The party is over at Imagination Station art supply store

    Cindy Sue Hunter serves a customer at her art supply store, Imagination Station, which has been reconfigured to allow shoppers to do what Hunter calls “door shopping."

    Lionsback Resort: City of Moab seeks help from Utah Supreme Court

    The City of Moab has appealed to the Utah Supreme Court a lower court’s finding that it should...
    Doug McMurdo
    Doug McMurdo
    Editor Doug McMurdo reports on news out of the Moab City Center, tourism, courts, change of government and more.
    The parking garage planned for downtown Moab has been canceled. Photo courtesy of the City of Moab, edited by Carter Pape

    With everyone participating or watching from home or some other location outside a city hall vacated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Moab City Council in a 5-0 vote approved a resolution that effectively cancels plans to build a downtown parking structure.

    City Manager Joel Linares will renegotiate the city’s agreement with the Utah Department of Transportation on how to spend more than $8 million of $10 million that was provided in 2018 in so-called hotspot funding for communities negatively impacted by tourism.

    The resolution also terminates the design contract for the parking structure the city entered into with design firm Kimley-Horn & Associates.

    The city owes about $300,000 for work done to date and it remains unclear if the city must pay or if it can be taken out of the hotspot funds.

    One of the three goals of the hotspot plan was to reduce congestion. The plan was good to go until recently when it was suggested a parking garage might not be the way to provide parking relief to more businesses than the ones within 600 feet of West Center and 100 West, the chosen site for such a structure.

    In addition to concerns about location, rising costs and allegations of a lack of transparency led to a rare and heated contention on the city council. At the first meeting of March, members Karen Guzman-Newton and Kalen Jones got into an extended argument over a pair of competing resolutions, but none of that rancor was present Tuesday evening.

    Linares and Assistant City Manager Carly Castle and City Attorney Laurie Simonson sat down with Jones and Newton after that meeting and they hammered out a third resolution that was palpable for all.

    “I’d like to give a big thank you to Karen and Kalen for duking it out at our last meeting,” quipped Mayor Emily Niehaus.

    Council Member Mike Duncan also thanked the pair. “I’m glad we came to a consensus,” he said. “Now the hard work begins. Duncan, who sponsored one of the earlier resolutions, said it was important to move swiftly, saying he didn’t want “egg on our face if we accomplish nothing,”

    To that end, Niehaus directed Linares to seek an extension from UDOT when renegotiations begin. The current deadline to come up with a plan is Sept. 1. Niehaus suggested Linares seek a six-month extension.

    Linares said he would send off a letter this week.

    Jones thanked the trio of attorneys on the city’s staff, saying their input was “integral to our success.”

    The one issue that caused the most heartburn were the unproven allegations that the original deal was done outside the light of day. The resolution makes it crystal clear the city will establish a committee to devise a new plan for the funding and that it will have to abide by Utah’s open meeting laws.

    Share this!

    - Advertisement -

    Latest News

    Gas prices creep up as holiday dawns

    The national average price of gasoline has risen 2 cents per gallon in the last week, averaging $1.86 per gallon Monday.

    Nominees sought for Theodore Roosevelt Genius Prize Advisory Council

    It will focus on endangered species protection, invasive species management, poaching and wildlife trafficking prevention, and nonlethal solutions to human-wildlife conflicts, according to a press release from the department.

    School leaders say past months have taught ‘resilience,’ the power of relationships

    The Times-Independent interviewed Grand County High School Principal Steve Hren and Grand County School District Superintendent Taryn Kay on May 11 about their experience and thoughts about the two prior months, in which local campuses closed, and students were sent home to finish off their year doing distance education amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The class of 2020 will celebrate like none before

    With physical distancing and social togetherness the name of the game amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the class of 2020 from Grand County High School will join their peers around the state, country and world to celebrate their graduation in a manner that will be altogether unprecedented and unique but will — to the degree that it is safe — bring them together to celebrate on May 28.

    Grand County High School 2020 Senior Class

    The class of 2020, including a photo of some of the soon-to-be graduates from kindergarten.