February 14, 2018 10:30 PM
After 48 years, it is starting to look its age.
And beyond that, the City of St. Paul says the RiverCentre parking ramp has "structural deficiencies."
That's why the St. Paul City Council made the parking ramp its top bonding priority in a resolution asking the State Legislature to approve $58 million in funding to tear it down and rebuild a new ramp in the same spot.
The ramp is operated by Visit St. Paul, and that organization also plans to lobby hard at the legislature to secure the funding needed to demolish the RiverCentre ramp in 2019 with an eye toward a targeted reopening in 2021.
The ramp has more than 1,200 parking spaces and connects to Xcel Energy Center, RiverCentre and the Science Museum of Minnesota. But it also serves as daily parking for downtown customers, and is used extensively by patrons of downtown businesses.
Mayor Melvin Carter's office said the ramp serves more than 2 million people and generates more than $12 million in sales tax revenue each year.
People who use the parking ramp told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS they understand it is old and in disrepair. But they are also concerned about where they will park and how much it will cost them.
"It would be a huge inconvenience," ramp user Misty Williams said. "Trying to find parking for work at a reasonable rate is pretty challenging, so this is a good option and to have this taken away would be rough."
Anne Hase said she has been parking in the RiverCentre ramp for five years while working in downtown St. Paul. She is worried about the cost of finding another place if it closes for two years.
"I like parking down here and it fits my routine nicely," Hase said. "It would change my mornings and afternoons if it is closed for two years, and it would probably cost me more money because other ramps are full and finding a new spot would be very hard."
The legislature convenes Feb. 20, and a decision on whether the RiverCentre ramp is totally redone should be made within the next six months.
Updated: February 14, 2018 10:30 PM
Created: February 14, 2018 07:58 PM
Copyright 2018 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company