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Parking in Sedona’s Uptown and Hwy. 179 business districts has become more of a priority for City Council in the last year, City Manager Eric Levitt said.

By Trista Steers
Larson Newspapers
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Parking in Sedona’s Uptown and Hwy. 179 business districts has become more of a priority for City Council in the last year, City Manager Eric Levitt said.

Therefore, the City Council directed Levitt to start exploring possible public-private partnerships to address the city’s need for more parking in Uptown and along Hwy. 179.

Levitt said the city has been looking into ways of better managing the existing parking situation.

Now, the concern has become adding more.

“The economic generator in Sedona is sales tax and bed tax,” Councilman Ramon Gomez said, and a critical component to making this happen is helping visitors find adequate parking.

Councilman John Bradshaw agreed that any money spent on pursuing additional parking will bring money back to the city.

“We will realize benefits from it quickly,” Councilwoman Nancy Scagnelli said.

The conversation was initiated by an issue paper submitted by Councilman Rob Adams and Levitt.

According to the paper, one component of a parking management study completed in 2005 was to look at long-term parking solutions.

Adams said when he was elected to council, he began contacting people in Sedona in the form of public outreach, and the central theme of their concerns dealt with parking and traffic.

Levitt said the next steps are finding a location and allocating money to buy the property and construct either a parking structure or lot.

He estimated it would take three to five years for the project to be complete.

Members of the public, including Al Spector and Wendy Lippman, said this was too long.

Spector said limited parking cuts into both local business and city revenue and that it shouldn’t take three to five years to do something about the problem.

“We need to make this a priority,” Lippman said.

Lippman, resident partner and general manager of Tlaquepaque arts and crafts village, brought an agreement to council in 2002 that would have donated 45,000 square feet of Tlaquepaque’s Portal Lane and employee lot to the city.

The proposal would have also later addressed the construction of a 300-space parking structure if the land transaction had been approved.

The 2002 council voted against Lippman’s project.

Now, Lippman is still willing to work with the city to address the parking issue.

“We need to make this a pedestrian-friendly community,” Lippman said.

In three to five years, according to Lippman, it will be even harder.

“I’m very, very supportive of parking,” Mayor Pud Colquitt said, but council needs to slow down and look at the bottom line.

The city’s infrastructure and the amount of money that will be spent need to be addressed, she said.

“This will be a public process and, believe it or not, you’ll have opposition even to this,” Colquitt said.



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