Lawmakers discuss pricey parking proposal for Providence

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A new garage has been proposed to ease some of the parking tensions in downtown Providence, but a report on the project revealed it could prove costly.

A special legislative committee met Wednesday to discuss the possibility of building a 7-story parking facility behind the Garrahy Judicial Complex on Dorrance Street. The lawmakers received a report from consultants to the I-195 Redistrict Commission, which stated the 1,250-space garage would cost $43 million to construct, or approximately $31,250 per parking spot.

The committee is seeking buyers for the land left vacant by the Route 195 relocation project, so they’re proposing to allow a private developer to use the public land to build the garage.

“I think any city or state that takes economic development and the planning for economic development seriously takes parking structures seriously and invests in them,” said committee co-chair Sen. Joshua Miller, D-Cranston.

The report said the project would initially lose money, but would become profitable before the end of the first decade. In order to maximize the project’s economic development, the report also calls for approximately 13,800 square-feet of retail storefronts on the ground level, along Clifford and Richmond Streets.

The private use of public land would have to be approved by the General Assembly, so the committee must now decide if the project is feasible enough to put it in front of the Senate and House.

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