From: Tom Riska
With all the discussion regarding downtown parking and the new hotel/apartment/ramp complex, I am curious what other options have been considered. My understanding is the new construction will have a ramp separating the hotel and the apartments/condos. I realize what I am about to suggest would not be an inexpensive proposition, but it may have some merit. What if the city offered a portion of the Hardees lot to the Winona 7 Theater owners to relocate to that block, and offered the current theater space to businesses relative to entertainment, meaning such places that would benefit from riverside placement. Tax incentives or some such thing would probably need to be used to entice them to make such a move, but could be well worth it in the long run.
The Hardees block already has the Historical Society, the library, and the Masonic Temple (also being transformed for entertainment purposes) as neighbors, so this type of complex would compliment those destinations.
A sizable portion of the Hardees block would need to remain public parking, but coupled with all of the on-street parking I don’t believe it would be an issue for that particular area.
With the theater moved, the city could enter into a partnership with the developers of the hotel/apartment project to extend the parking ramp to Second Street, reserve the rear portion for guests only, and the front for visitors to the downtown district. With the completion of the levee, the new hotel complex and more businesses opening and expanding, it would be wise not to make pedestrians walk three to five blocks to arrive at their destination, especially in winter months.
Lastly, the city might consider making Second and Third streets one-way, but only if they think it would improve traffic flow/congestion. I do know one-way streets are generally better for pedestrians, but I don’t know if they’re positive overall.
Just a thought!