Hurricane Irma Cleanup Costs Blow Naples Downtown Parking Garage Plan Off Table

2017-10-05 | Naples Daily News

Oct. 05 --A controversial proposal for a downtown Naples parking garage is off the table after the City Council agreed Wednesday to delay indefinitely any further talks on the project.

Mayor Bill Barnett said the project can't move forward while the city faces mounting cleanup costs from Hurricane Irma.

"I would like to take the Fourth and Fourth parking garage and just table it, put it on the shelf," Barnett said during Wednesday's regular meeting, referring to the proposal for the city to buy a lot and build a garage at Fourth Street South and Fourth Avenue South .

The council unanimously agreed to Barnett's request. City Attorney Bob Pritt said the council may revisit the issue later.

"If something changes, you can always have a workshop or put it on an agenda," he told the council.

Talks with the private seller, Hoffmann Commercial Real Estate , had stalled after the council rejected an initial $6 million price for the lot.

The council lowered the city's offer to $4.6 million after a large group of residents in a public hearing said they were opposed to the parking garage.

Hoffmann hasn't given a counter-offer, Barnett said.

"It's done," he said. "It's kind of moot."

The council had scheduled another round of public input on the project for January, but that was before a hurricane struck.

City Manager Bill Moss has said the bill for repairs and restoration in Irma's wake could be as high as $30 million .

Contractors already have hauled 800 truckloads, or about 30,000 cubic yards, of tree and plant debris caused by the storm. The city's total debris has been estimated at 360,000 cubic yards.

Much of the restoration costs could be covered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency . Expenses not reimbursed would come from the city's general reserves, said Finance Director Ann Marie Ricardi .

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