City plans renovation for downtown alley and parking lot

FLUSHING — The City of Flushing is preparing to tackle a much-needed renovation project on the city’s downtown north parking lot and alley.

At Monday’s meeting, the Flushing City Council approved engineering design improvements for the downtown parking lot and alley area, which is bounded by Maple Street, Cherry Street and Main Street. Rowe Engineering will begin design work in preparation for the repaving of the parking lot and a “facelift” of the aging alleyway.

According to design plans from Rowe, the renovation will include a complete removal and replacement of asphalt pavement and the concrete sidewalk along the rear of the north alley buildings. Alley drive approaches at Maple and Cherry streets will also be reconstructed with new sidewalks and ADA-accessible ramps, and Rowe will be exploring options for providing barrier-free accessible sidewalks at the rear entrances of businesses in the alley.

In the north parking lot, crews will crush and regrade existing asphalt and reduce the height of the slopes of the Maple Street entrances. The parking lot will also be repaved and restriped, and a new sidewalk will be installed along the east side of Maple Street.

To save money, the city plans to package the north parking lot and alley improvement project with already-approved renovation plans for the south downtown parking lot on Cherry and Mill streets. Both projects would be packaged into one contract and bid as three different cost centers for 2021.

Interim City Manager Clarence Goodlein said that renovation is long-overdue for the city’s north parking lot and alley, which has deteriorated rapidly over the years.

“At this point, the north alley is just falling apart,” he said. “We can’t do anything else but rip it out and start all over again. There are numerous trip hazards on the sidewalks and issues with utilities and connections that are aging.”

Mayor Pro Tem Edward Sullivan also pointed out that some downtown business properties have overlapping boundaries with the city-owned alleyway, requiring the city attorney and Rowe to work with business owners to rectify the situation before renovation work can start.

Rowe is estimating that it will cost around $120,000 to repave and reconstruct the north parking lot and approximately $190,000 to reconstruct the alley (not including engineering costs or contingencies). Design work is projected to be completed in February, with construction expected to begin next spring.

The city has already budgeted $155,000 for the downtown south parking lot project, which is estimated to cost between $110,000 and $130,000.