The agreement is part of a larger plan by the City of Springfield to better coordinate parking in the downtown. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Springfield commissioners OK contract with parking management company

Springfield City Commissioners approved an ordinance that will allow the city to enter into a one-year renewable parking management agreement as part of a larger plan to better coordinate parking in the downtown.

The agreement is with the company Republic Parking System, LLC to provide downtown parking management services for a period of one year to not exceed $610,490. As part of the agreement the city will be able to renew its contract with the company for six additional one-year periods.

The company will be tasked with helping the city as it looks to implement paid parking options in the downtown area.

“Not all of that money is operating costs,” said Paul Hicks, the emergency services manager for the City of Springfield.

“It is safe to assume that going forward that the costs will be less,” Hicks said if the city decided to renew the contract in the future.

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The Springfield City Commission held a special legislative meeting Tuesday morning in place of its regularly scheduled evening session. Regular City Commission meetings have been temporarily suspended due to a mayoral proclamation and executive order issued last week in regards to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

City Manager Bryan Heck told commissioners on Tuesday that the $610,490 figure is one that the city has agreed to not exceed in regards to the agreement with Republic. He added that it does not mean that the city is obligated to spend that much while using the parking management company’s services.

Under the current agreement, Republic —which is part of the Chattanooga-based Reef Parking network— would be charging $30,000 for the first year as a management fee. However, additional costs are dependent on what actions the city takes in terms of implementing paid parking in the downtown area.

The original agreement that was introduced to city commissioners earlier this year would have had the city enter into a five year commitment with Republic. The city would have had the option to leave the agreement during those five years, Heck said.

However, some commissioners, during a previous commission meeting, felt uneasy in regards to entering into the five year contract. As a result, Republic agreed to a one-year agreement with the renewable options.

Under the current agreement, Heck said Republic would manage “the necessary contracts” to keep the city’s public parking garage, which is currently under construction, operational as well as other parking elements in the downtown area such as on street spots and public parking lots.

The city is currently constructing a three-story public parking garage that is expected to be completed soon and be operational next month.

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“The garage will be opening up on time,” Heck told commissioners on Tuesday, noting that construction was continuing on schedule.

Republic will be tasked with managing the operation of the garage, including contracts required to keep up the maintenance of that facility. Another component is turning two public parking lots in the area into paid ones. However, Heck said they will likely put a hold on that due to a delay in paving those lots.

Heck added that at this point, the city would not move forward with the purchasing and implementation of paid parking meters. However, he said the city could still authorize them in the future.

“We don’t think, given the current pandemic, that would be the right thing for us to do for our community,” he added.

In the mean time, Republic would be tasked with conducing a parking analysis in the downtown area, which would include input from local business owners as well as from other stakeholders.

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