HRA awards bid for downtown parking lot

by Joni Astrup

Associate editor

A Chisago City company has been awarded a $163,250 bid to complete a parking lot with amenities in downtown Elk River.

The plan for the new downtown Elk River parking lot.

The Elk River Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) voted unanimously Monday, May 7, to award the bid to Peterson Companies Inc. It was the lowest of four bids, which ranged as high as $200,000.

The parking lot will be located at 716 and 720 Main, where the HRA recently demolished two buildings. It will have 23 standard parking spaces and two handicapped-accessible ones.

As part of the plan, the one-way alley that now runs from Main Street along the east side of the future lot will be closed. Motorists will access the parking lot at Main Street and King Avenue.

A new paver walk for pedestrians will run roughly where the alley is now.

The new lot, known as the Main Street Parking Plaza, will also include stone slabs, benches and trash receptacles like the ones at the downtown park, River’s Edge Commons. Other amenities will include landscaping along the east wall of Elk River Meats and along the Main Street edge of the lot. A kiosk for business information and a monument sign for the lot could be added later but weren’t included in this bid.

Two downtown buildings owned by the Elk River Housing and Redevelopment Authority were demolished by the city in January. Now a parking lot with amenities will be put in the vacant space. (Star News file photo)

Construction is expected to start this month, with the lot being completed on or before June 22, according to Elk River Director of Economic Development Annie Deckert. That would be in time for the Farmers Market, which opens June 28. The market plans to be located in the new parking lot this summer. It has operated out of the parking lot of Westbound Liquor in the past.

While HRA commissioners felt the bids were fair, they were disappointed that the bids were all higher than the estimate by Landform, a Minneapolis-based consulting firm that designed the lot. HRA Chairman Stewart Wilson said that cost estimate probably wasn’t as on target as they would have liked.

The cost of the parking lot will come out of the HRA Development Fund, which has a balance of $694,055.