Butler County revisiting possible changes to ‘stone age’ parking garage

The Butler County commissioners put the brakes on automating their “stone age” parking garage about a year ago, but talk during budget hearings Monday turned toward revisiting the project.

The commissioners dubbed the five-story, 623-space garage at the corner of Court Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard a “stone age” garage back in 2015 and asked staff to start work on fully automating the structure. It currently operates as a cash-only, pay-at-the-gate facility.

RELATED: Brakes may be put on Butler County garage automation

Proposals to automate the garage, making it more user friendly and allowing the ability to generate revenue from community events — ranging from $100,000 to $400,000 — were submitted a couple years ago. The operative budget amount had been $200,000 to $250,000.

“I think it would be wise to just look at the whole garage operation,” County Administrator Judi Boyko said. “I think at some point you have to look at the market rates and are we charging the market, are we charging too low. I think we’d like to look at it comprehensively.”

The county’s situation is unique in that there are a number of different parking arrangements at the garage. People can pay $40 a month for a reserved, covered spot — spots on the open-air roof cost $30 — there are hourly and daily rates and jurors, law enforcement, fire officials and some others park for free.

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