Kovac Pushing Ascension To Improve East Side Parking
Alderman calls garage design an abomination, wants better signage to let public know of free parking above Whole Foods.
No one has a problem with a design change that would add metal panels to a parking garage at Ascension‘s Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital, but the Common Council is holding the change.
The proposal would add panels to the garage at 2318 N. Prospect Ave. to block sunlight that is blinding drivers during winter months.
“Within the four corners of the current terrible facade and this metal paneling, this is a mild improvement,” said area Alderman Nik Kovac on May 19th when the Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee reviewed the zoning request.
A 2005 hospital design package allowed three new garages to be constructed. “It was a huge mistake for the city to allow a parking structure this massive and this unadorned to deaden a major commercial corridor,” said Kovac, who was elected in 2008. “One of them looks sort of okay… This one is an abomination. The one on Farwell is an abomination.”
Kovac said it took years for the parking structure above the Whole Foods grocery store to be allowed to be used as public parking in the evening, even though the community parking was part of the design agreement. The medical office does not use the structure in the evening.
“I was hoping we could get some additional commitments from [Ascension] for a little bit better signage,” said Kovac. “I was hoping they would commit to working with the [East Side business improvement district] so the public is aware of the free parking in that structure.”
But no Ascension representative was available at the meeting.
The committee held the matter awaiting an appearance from Ascension.
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