Whitefish City Council sat down Tuesday evening in a work session to discuss whether businesses should chip in to pay for upkeep and operational costs of a future parking garage.
"Employees can't park their cars in the streets for 8 hours. They have to either move them or get a ticket. So it seems to be an issue for downtown businesses," said Chad Colby of Runner Up Sports.
It's been a nuisance for years, but now there's a chance to alleviate parking woes in Whitefish. City Council members are looking into assessment districts for the newly approved three-story parking structure. That means businesses could divvy up a yearly fee to maintain the garage.
"Seventy-five thousand a year to maintain the structure including a reserve. Some of that would be offset by lease revenue because we can lease some of the parking spaces in the parking structure," said City Manager Chuck Stearns.
Colby said it'd be convenient for businesses to lease out spots for their employees. The possibility of paying a fee to keep the future garage running is a trade off to get more shoppers into his doors.
"Traffic going to and from the parking structure would walk by your business," said Colby.
This is only the beginning for the future parking structure. Stearns said the city council is just starting to look at architects for City Hall and the structure's facade. Construction and the start of the assessment district won't start until sometime between 2015-2017.