The city of Naperville is once again pursuing the idea of a parking deck at Nichols Library.
At the library board meeting on Wednesday, city officials sought input detailing any interest in the project.
Andy Hynes, project engineer for the city’s Transportation Engineering and Development, says the city believes the time is now to consider revisiting the issue with parking. According to Hynes, “The recent federal transportation legislation that Congress recently passed may provide some opportunities for external funding of the parking structure.”
The topic has long been debated by residents, but the city is now entertaining initial discussions and would like to host meetings to get community input. Previous steps taken to build a parking deck stopped in 2008 shortly after the approval of the final design the prior year.
The project was halted because of the Great Recession and other parking decks coming on line in the downtown area.
Dave Della Terza, the library’s executive director, says the topic is worth exploring again. According to Della Terza, “Every single time we do a customer satisfaction survey, the number one thing that people say is parking at Nichols is really bad. Parking at Nichols is really bad. I hate parking at Nichols. We just did a website survey where we said, ‘What do you think of our website?’ Two of the comments were parking at Nichols is really bad, which has nothing to do with the website.”
About the Project
Project renderings, as is, indicate a four-level parking deck would be wrapped in an “L” shape around the existing library building, stretching along Jefferson Street from Eagle to Webster streets. The deck would have a brick façade with a row house style design. The drawings also show a community plaza on the northwest corner of the site. The deck would have 501 parking spaces, whereas the existing lot allows for 130.
According to Hynes, “Since the city has already made a considerable investment in the development of project plans with extensive public input, the project would ideally move forward with limited changes. However, as the building codes have changed many times since 2008, the parking structure design would need to be updated for those revisions at a minimum.”
In 2008, the project came with an $18 million price tag. Estimated costs show a parking deck in 2022 could cost the city $23.5 million.
The library board reached an informal consensus Wednesday to keep communication on this topic with the city going.
If the city council gets behind the project, officials plan to involve the community in the planning process. The timeline to construct the parking deck could start as early as 2023 or 2024.
Naperville News 17’s Megann Horstead reports.
If you have a story idea, we want to hear from you!