Talks begin over parking garage proposal for downtown Warsaw

The Kosciusko County parking lot across from the sheriff's office is often nearly full during weekdays. The county plans to renovate the parking lot this summer, which will provide additional parking spaces. But officials are also considering a longterm plan to construct a parking garage with the city of Warsaw. News Now Warsaw photo by Dan Spalding.
By Dan Spalding
News Now Warsaw

WARSAW — Officials with the City of Warsaw and Kosciusko County are wasting no time in discussing the idea of working together on the construction of a parking garage in downtown Warsaw.

On Tuesday — one day after OrthoWorx announced a plan to financially support the construction of a parking garage as one of 11 proposals moving forward with $30 million from the state — Warsaw mayor Jeff Grose met with county officials about the issue.

Vehicles are parked along Main Street in front of the Kosciusko County Justice Building. Parking in that area is often hard to find. News Now Warsaw photo by Dan Spalding.

The proposed structure, according to OrthoWorx, could be big enough to hold 350 vehicles, but the city and county will have to decide numerous issues that would clear the way for a specific plan.

Grose declined to speculate what an arrangement would look like out of respect for the negotiations.

According to OrthoWorx paperwork, OrthoWorx is willing to provide $5 million in state money for the project and estimates the entire project could cost upward of $15 million.

Grose sounded encouraged about the proposition but admitted that the hard work that goes with negotiating still awaits both sides.

“There’s more work to be done,” Grose said Tuesday. 

“What’s that going to look like, and who is gonna be responsible, where’s it gonna be?” Grose asked rhetorically.

No specific site has been identified so far.

Grose sounded optimistic.

“Let’s sit down, work together, try not to draw lines, and work together to come up with the financing to make this a reality,” Grose added.

A “visioning committee” has been meeting regularly on Fridays on specific proposals that were made public on Monday.

The $30 million was set aside by the General Assembly last year and won support from the state budget committee earlier this month.

Money will be made available as projects progress. The parking garage proposal is one of three that are considered to be close to “shovel ready.”

A recent study commissioned by the Kosciusko Economic Development Commission has indicated some kind of change is needed to accommodate parking in the downtown.

The city has several parking lots available to rent, but most parking spots along the streets in the downtown business district are often heavily sought after, leading some business owners to complain about the circumstances.

The county is in the process of expanding its parking lot north of the Sheriff’s office this summer which will create some additional parking spaces.

City Hall, two blocks away, has assigned parking spaces for its city hall employees as well as additional spaces for people doing business at city hall.