UP City Council OKs Continuing Snider Plaza Parking Program

The University Park City Council Oct. 4 approved continuing and expanding a program allowing businesses in Snider Plaza to use up to 100 city-leased spaces in the Hilltop Plaza garage for up to six months at a cost to the city of up to $40,000. 

The city initially entered the lease agreement with Hilltop Plaza allowing Snider Plaza tenants to use 50 spaces in the parking garage at Hilltop Plaza at a discounted rate — 65 cents per hour – in 2019, and later implemented a parking program to begin using the leased spaces in a phased approach. Then, in April 2021, an amendment was approved to give the city access to an additional 50 spaces – a total of 100 – in Hilltop Plaza at the same discounted rate.

“That same month, we invited employees of Kuby’s and Bandito’s to begin parking in this introductory phase … we invited them to use the parking garage at no cost,” University Park special projects coordinator Amanda Hartwick explained. “That very next month, (utility) construction began (in the plaza). Because we had those additional spaces, we were able to offer parking to those who were displaced, so as construction entered into the alleys, we were able to invite those employees who might park behind the businesses to park in the garage.”

To date, city officials say the city of University Park’s been billed just over $50,000 for that  parking program. 

“I am in full support of paying for parking for our employees during a construction phase, but my understanding is we’re probably almost a year away from starting construction again, and they have access to all their spaces, and we are trying to encourage a (public improvement district),” Mayor Pro Tem Liz Farley said. “I just don’t think it’s our role to provide parking for businesses when we’re not under construction.”

Councilman Phil Philbin, though, said he thought it would be helpful to encourage employees in the plaza to park in the garage before construction begins on anticipated sidewalk and street paving, landscaping, and additional work in the plaza later.

“I think there’s an interest in the city in, if you will, training some of the merchants to begin parking in the garage such that when construction begins, they will be comfortable with the idea of parking in the garage, but I agree with Mayor Pro Tem Farley that long term, we don’t want to be responsible for parking in Snider Plaza,” Philbin said. 

The continuation and expansion of the program was approved 4-1 with Farley voting against it. 

In other news: 

  • The city council approved fiscal year 2023 audio-visual projects with Visionality, including upgrades or replacement of AV products in city hall, the Peek Service Center, and the University Park Public Library for up to $182,000.

Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order. You can reach her at [email protected]

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