Mankato City Council discusses parking downtown as it plans additional housing

Published: Sep. 17, 2021 at 6:28 PM CDT
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - This week, Mankato City Council approved preliminary plans for an expansion to the Landmark Center building downtown.

The plans align with the city’s goal to add more housing to the City Center area, according to Mankato Director of Community Development Paul Vogel.

“The upper floors, second through fourth floors, will be utilized for approximately 33 apartments, and then the ground floor will be used for a distillery,” he said.

One concern that councilmembers, like Councilwoman Karen Foreman, raised during Monday’s meeting was where residents will part when the City Center Hotel parking ramp is full during downtown events.

“And if you’re used to parking there and you come in at night and you’ve got your groceries and all the sudden there’s a sign there saying it’s not yours anymore, you got to go find something else, that’s difficult,” Foreman said.

During the public comment period, the council was able to clarify that tenants will be made aware of the parking situation before they sign the lease.

Vogel said right now, parking supply downtown is addressed through public parking ramps.

“And right now that parking ramp, where this parking would be directed, is very underutilized during normal weekday and week evenings. Only about 30 percent occupied. So there should be capacity to absorb that parking,” he said.

He said the Eide Bailly center across the street can also provide additional parking.

He further added that future parking expansion downtown will in part depend on how much parking is supplied on site in future projects.

“But certainly if we start seeing a lot of residential uses in the City Center that’s not affording the parking on site, then we’ll have to take a look at the public parking supply,” he said.

Councilwoman Foreman said the city should work to manage parking downtown so people know where to look.

“And while we have adequate parking in the downtown area, it’s still a little bit of seek and hunt as to where we go,” she said.

The city expects work on the Landmark Center project to begin next year.

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