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Downtown Bellingham parking garage could get $4M in needed repairs

A vehicle enters the Parkade in front of a mural from Bellingham artist Lanny Little. The downtown location has parking on five floors plus a mezzanine for nearly 500 spaces total.
A vehicle enters the Parkade in front of a mural from Bellingham artist Lanny Little. The downtown location has parking on five floors plus a mezzanine for nearly 500 spaces total. The Bellingham Herald

The downtown parking garage known as the Parkade is due for more than $4 million in renovations next year, according to city officials.

The vast majority of a proposed $4.6 million would be used for maintenance and repairs that have been put off for years, said Eric Johnston, assistant director of public works.

At least part of the money for the project likely would need to be financed, as the city’s parking fund doesn’t have enough cash to pay for all the repairs upfront, Johnston said. The loan could be paid off over time from the parking fund.

Long overdue repairs could include replacing damaged concrete and asphalt and fixing places where rebar is exposed on the outside of the structure, Johnston told City Council Monday, Sept. 22.

Storefronts located under the garage also have leaking awnings and ceilings. Those, too, would be repaired.

Other improvements might include installing bicycle racks and electric vehicle charging stations, new signs at the entrance, new windows and handrails in the stairwell, fireproofing for support beams and renovations for the restrooms to make them accessible under the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements and improve security, Johnston said in a Tuesday interview.

“The majority of this project is really related to improving security and comfort, and making the garage more safe and inviting for the public to use,” he said.

The Parkade was selected for improvements from a prioritized list of city-owned properties that need to be repaired, Johnston told the council. It was also identified as a priority during the myDowntown planning process.

“A lot of the improvements we’re doing are reflective of the input we got during that process,” Johnston said.

The council will have to approve the project budget before renovations can take place.

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