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The City Council is considering a proposal from Biddeford Innovation, Inc. to build a 640-space parking garage and expand the RiverWalk and pedestrian connections. The purpose of the project is to reduce the property tax burden for residents and provide parking for current and planned development in the downtown and Mill District. No property tax dollars will be used to pay for this project, and the tax rate will not increase due to this project. A City Council Workshop on the proposal will be held on Tuesday, September 10 at 6:00 p.m. in the Little Theater at Biddeford High School (20 Maplewood Ave). Community members who attend will have the opportunity to share their comments on the proposal with the Council. The Council is expected to vote on the proposal at their September 17 meeting.
If the proposal is approved, Biddeford Innovation, Inc. will design, build, and manage the parking garage. The City will contribute to the project through two sources. The first is through annual payments from the City’s TIF. Money in the TIF fund comes from sheltered property tax payments from businesses and developments in the Mill District – NOT from residential property taxpayers. The second source is revenues from the parking garage and parking lots. If parking revenues are less than expected, the City can make up the difference by collecting payments from surrounding properties in the Mill District, adjusting parking rates, or a combination of the two. If revenues are more than expected, the City will receive the benefit.
All on-street parking will remain FREE. During construction of the garage, rates for parking in surface lots will not increase. Once the garage is completed, rates for parking in the structure will be the same as surface lots. Under the proposal, Biddeford Innovation, Inc. would also assume management of surface lots in the downtown area.
A parking garage is important to our community to promote continued downtown and Mill District development. This matters to taxpayers because new development makes buildings and properties more valuable. More valuable buildings pay more property taxes to the City, which helps stabilize the property tax rate. The construction of the garage is expected to provide the City of Biddeford an additional $16,407,604 in property taxes in the first 10 years of operation and a benefit of $39,772,744 over the 25 year lifetime of the agreement.
For more information, please visit www.biddefordmaine.org/parkinggarage.