November 15, 2012 11:21:00 AM
Although it was believed to have been a done deal, a parking lot agreement between the City of Columbus and a private citizen has been redrawn.
During a specially-called meeting Wednesday, the Columbus City Council voted to approve a new agreement for the lease of the parking lot behind the Front Door/Back Door restaurant. The lot, commonly referred to as "Catfish Alley parking lot," is owned by R.L. Edmondson.
"I thought we had a deal worked out, but it has changed," Columbus Chief Operations Officer David Armstrong said. "We had Scott Colom negotiate the deal for us because (City Attorney) Jeff Turnage recused himself. We thought we had a deal locked at 20 years for $180 a month."
According to Armstrong, in addition to the $180 per month, Edmondson wants the city to pay the taxes on the property, which comes to $525 per year. That would add another $43.75 to the monthly cost.
"It would be in the city's best interest to pay Mr. Edmondson $230 a month and that would cover the cost of the taxes," Armstrong said.
The Catfish Alley lot is among the re-paving projects for which the city agreed to use general obligation bond money at the suggestion of Mayor Robert Smith. Other projects included in the package were the re-paving of the Hitching Lot Farmers Market parking lot, the addition of a new parking lot near the Riverwalk and the parking lot behind the Trotter Convention Center.
"We have got to reach an agreement on this, because we can't start the paving until we have a lease in hand," Smith said.
Ward 5 Councilman Kabir Karriem suggested the city buy the parking space.
"Why don't we just buy it," Karriem said. "We're going to be paying out about $45,000 over 20 years."
Smith said he had tried to negotiate a deal with the owner to purchase the property but a deal could not be reached.
Ward 6 Councilman Bill Gavin opposed the vote, stating he supported paying $222 a month over $230.
"That's an additional $8 a month for 20 years," Gavin said, a difference of $1,920 over the 20-year life of the lease.
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