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Upgrades planned for former RTD parking lot in downtown Brighton

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By Crystal Nelson

BRIGHTON — The former RTD parking lot along Strong Street will be getting a much needed facelift this summer.

Streets and Fleet Director Joe Smith and Parks and Recreation Director Gary Wardle informed the Downtown Partnership Committee of their plans to update the parking lot during its Dec. 5 meeting. 

Smith said they have been talking about updating the parking lot for several years and that parking space in the downtown has always been an issue. 

 

“It’s not as useable as it could be so we’ve set out to make it a little more useful,” he said, adding that they will be turning the parking spaces around so the city can gain additional parking spaces.

Another element of the update is to make the parking lot people friendly. Smith said the old Chamber of Commerce structure will come down, making the parking lot feel safer for somebody walking from that parking lot into downtown. Proposed plans include the relocation of the two existing light fixtures and possibly two new light fixtures.

“We’re hoping to be able to scrape together enough money to get four lights in there but the two that are in there will help make it be a little bit brighter,” Smith said.

The update will include three outlets onto each of the surrounding streets: First Avenue, Strong Street and Great Western Road. There are also plans for handicap parking spaces along the east side of the parking lot. Smith said they would like to make it — as much as they can — an accessible route in accordance with the American Disabilities Act.

Smith is hoping to complete his portion of the work for less than $50,000.

Wardle said he has $90,000 budgeted to put in landscaping, a picnic shelter and a fence to go on the corner of First Avenue and Strong Street. He said the landscaping would include a new irrigation system as the parking lots existing irrigation system doesn’t function.

The city will be removing the shrubs but saving the most mature trees. Some xeric landscaping is also being planned. 

“As Joe said, we do hope to get the building out of there at some point and then come back and create an entrance feature for that corner,” he said. “I suggested a picnic shelter, but I think there’s other options. If people have other ideas, I’m more than willing to consider other ideas of how we could make this an entrance feature.” 

  Although Smith was unable to give an exact time frame for the project since the city will be working it in between other projects the city has planned, he said he would expect it to be completed by the end of summer.