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City answers some Village Entrance questions

This question and answer about the Village Entrance project was compiled by city staff and approved by City Manager John Pietig.

Is there contaminated soil at the Village Entrance site and, if so, how would this affect the project?

As with virtually any property that has been used for various non-residential purposes over time, there is a possibility that some remediation may be necessary at the Village Entrance site. As part of the design process and consistent with the certified environmental impact report, the city has retained technical experts to conduct a thorough study of soil conditions at the project site. The consultants will perform a broad spectrum test for volatiles, organics and heavy metals. Results from the analysis should be available in approximately six weeks and will be made available to the public. In the event any contaminants are identified, the appropriate remediation actions would be completed using available funding from the $6.7 million contingency included in the project budget.

How will the groundwater level affect the design of the Village Entrance parking structure?

Based on the current design concept, the bottom level of the Village Entrance parking structure, while below existing grade, remains above the groundwater level. With that said, the potential for liquefaction is expected. The geotechnical study will examine multiple foundation system alternatives to identify the appropriate system to support the parking structure from bedrock through the existing soils. The project budget anticipates funding for a deep foundation system.

Did the groundwater level in the area impact the below-grade parking at the Community and Susi Q Center on Third Avenue?

With respect to the Community and Susi Q Center, groundwater was encountered at depths of 9 ½ to 17 feet below the surface. To remain above the groundwater, a design was selected that provided only one-level of below-grade parking, as a potential second level of below-grade parking would have breached the groundwater depth and added significantly to the project cost. Additionally, based on the geotechnical analysis, it was determined that liquefaction in the event of a strong earthquake was possible. For these reasons, 36 inch caisson shafts were drilled into competent bedrock to support the building foundations.

Once the Village Entrance project is completed, how much will it cost to operate and maintain the new parking structure, and how will the city pay for it?

Based on the current conceptual design, the annual cost to operate and maintain the parking structure is estimated at $100,000 - $125,000. The proposed financing plan and project budget, approved by the City Council on June 11, includes an estimate of $150,000 in the Parking Fund to cover ongoing operating expenses. This amount was included in the long-term projections as a budgetary estimate based on the preliminary nature of design.

How much will it cost to maintain the park/promenade?

The annual cost to maintain the park and promenade area is estimated at $40,000 - $50,000, based on the city's current park maintenance expenses and approximate square footage of the new amenities. This estimate will continually be refined as the design concept evolves. Although there may be funding available in the Parking Fund to cover park maintenance expenses, these costs are usually borne by the General Fund.

After Village Entrance bond payments are made, will there still be funding available for bus and trolley service?

Yes. The financing plan for the Village Entrance project assumes a portion of Parking Fund income will continue to be transferred to the Transit Fund to maintain bus and trolley service. Further, the budget projections set aside sufficient funding to purchase new buses and trolleys based on the current replacement schedule. The funding for Village Entrance debt service comes from new parking revenue generated by a combination of increased on-street parking meter rates and the new parking spaces at the Village Entrance structure.

Will there be funding available for future parking projects?

As indicated above, the additional funding for Village Entrance bond payments comes primarily from new parking revenue generated by a phased increase in on-street parking meter rates. When combined with the estimated revenues from the new parking spaces at the Village Entrance structure, the new revenue is expected to be sufficient to pay the annual debt service and provide a coverage ratio of approximately 25% on average in order to minimize the risk of any impact to the City's General Fund. In fact, the long-term financial projections suggest the additional parking revenues will generate a surplus in the Parking Fund that, over time, could be used to fund other capital projects to increase parking supply citywide.

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