The Medford Urban Renewal Agency board on Thursday could approve the $525,000 purchase of a 1.33-acre property at 225 Riverside Ave. to create a parking lot.
The MURA board will hold a public hearing at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 18, at City Hall, 411 W. Eighth St., to discuss plans for the former Dollar GMC lot at the corner of East 10th Street and South Riverside Avenue.
"It's a good move," said Dick Gordon, chairman of the MURA board. "We need to continue to look at our parking opportunities in the downtown."
Gordon said he would prefer the lot be available for the public but said it would help Rogue Community College and Southern Oregon University students find additional parking.
The new lot also would relieve pressure on the Middleford parking garage, which will become even more popular as The Commons redevelopment project fills out, Gordon said.
Another benefit is that it will help provide better access to Bear Creek, he said. The city has undertaken various efforts to clean up the banks of Bear Creek and to make them more accessible to the public.
City staff has estimated the lot would provide 100 additional spaces, though the exact amount will depend on the riparian setback required from the creek.
If the MURA board approves, the lot would be purchased, a building would be torn down, and the parking lot built. No estimate was available as to the cost for the entire project.
Dollar moved its location to Airport Chevrolet Buick GMC Cadillac on Biddle Road in 2011.
The parking lot could take shape as three local corporations get set to build an office complex surrounding the nearby 395-space Evergreen garage on East Main Street next to the railroad tracks.
MURA will provide 200 spaces in the parking garage to the corporations and lease them another 100 spaces.
City officials had hoped college students would use the parking garage more, but it has been underutilized since the $10.2 million structure was opened in 2006.
Gordon said the downtown will change markedly in the next few years. As parking needs evolve, and the demand for more parking increases, the city may choose at a later date to do something else with the property, he said.
Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or email email@example.com.