LEAVENWORTH — The city has purchased 1.62 acres of state Department of Transportation land along Highway 2 for parking.
The cost was $526,076.53 for the lot at 240 Highway 2 near the corner of Mill Street, according to a Friday city news release. The city and DOT began seriously discussing the property in 2015, and the sale was finalized Wednesday.
City Administrator Joel Walinski said he's not sure exactly how many parking spaces will be added, but that striping to designate stalls can result in 30% to 40% more parking.
"It's been used for parking for quite a few years," he said of the purchased property. "The other piece is that it's an undeveloped site. It does need some improvements, and the city knew that as long as the DOT owned the property it limited what the city could do with the property. Providing parking isn't something the DOT gets involved with."
Walinski said surfacing and lighting are two improvements that should be made. The Parking Advisory Committee will develop recommendations for the City Council on any potential changes or parking regulations for the lot.
"Right now it's a dirt lot and it's fairly unregulated, meaning a lot of people use it for a lot of different things," Walinski said. "What I've noticed over the last two or three summers is a number of people illegally camping out there in their RVs. A lot of people store their vehicles there. A lot of people do park there and jump on the Link bus, so we have to fit that into the equation."
According to the release, DOT will retain part of the property that includes its maintenance facility, vehicle and equipment parking, and fuel facilities. Walinski said he was grateful to the department for keeping the sale process moving over the years.