RALEIGH, N.C. — One Raleigh City councilor said it is $25 million down the drain, but that did not stop the City Council from approving an underground parking structure for downtown.
City Manager Russell Allen envisions hundreds of spots below ground at the site of the old convention center at a cost of $25 million. However, not everyone is on board with the idea.
"I don't know why we have to save downtown with taxpayer money," Council Member Mike Regan said.
City Councilwoman Jessie Taliaferro referred to memos in the past relating to the new convention center and hotel.
"We were assured there was plenty of parking downtown," she said.
Allen and Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker said the parking would be at a strategic location. The new convention center will be built right across the street. It will cost $25,000 for each new underground spot. Supporters said it is expensive, but it frees up land above for economic development.
"It will generate revenue for the foreseeable future. I think it's a $7 million difference below ground and above ground that goes away pretty quick," City Councilman Neal Hunt said.
The City Council approved the plan by a 5-2 vote. The money to pay for the underground structure will come from the city's parking fund. A public hearing is scheduled for Dec. 7.