Solar panels, electric car charging stations planned for downtown Ann Arbor parking structure
Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority officials are making plans for 22 electric car charging stations in a new underground parking structure taking shape on South Fifth Avenue.
That was always part of the project, but executive director Susan Pollay said today the DDA is now seeking grant funds to assist with the costs and also to install a large solar panel system at the entrance on Library Lane.
Additionally, the DDA is hoping for grant money to purchase two electric vehicles that Republic Parking's IT staff would use when performing maintenance at parking structures downtown.
"We're hoping to hear fairly shortly whether we might receive these things," Pollay said. "It's just another step in our quest to have a parking deck with as many sustainable elements and have as little impact environmentally as possible."
Pollay delivered the news today at a meeting of the DDA's Operations Committee. She said the DDA is partnering with the Clean Energy Coalition through the Michigan Green Fleets initiative to make the grant application to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Over the next 15 months, Pollay said, the DDA plans to transition a portion of its fleet to operate on electricity by purchasing two plug-in vehicles. During the same period, the DDA plans to install 22 charging stations — including some solar energy charging stations — in the new parking garage at a cost of $203,600.
The solar energy system would cost another $154,100, and the two electric vehicles would cost $135,600. The DDA is asking the Department of Energy for $359,700 of the $493,300 cost for those purchases.
In addition, the DDA estimates it will cost nearly $1.2 million for the development of the 22 parking spaces as part of the larger project. Pollay has said there will be conduits for expansion if demand warrants opening up more plug-in spaces.
In other action at today's meeting, DDA Deputy Director Joe Morehouse gave a report on the organization's unaudited year-end financial statements for 2009-10. The reports show spending came in lower than expected, but the DDA still is running a deficit budget.
The DDA projected in March it would end this year $5.3 million in the red, though that's being done purposely to pay for the parking structure project and related infrastructure improvements. Actual spending, as reported today, came in at $24.1 million, while revenue came in at $20.8 million, meaning the deficit turned out to be $3.3 million.
"We did better than we had budgeted," Morehouse said, adding the DDA was able to curtail costs in some areas, and bonds for the new parking structure ended up being less than expected.
Within the DDA's TIF fund, which is the money it collects from taxes, spending for 2009-10 came in at $4.47 million, which was 22 percent under budget, but still led to a $674,450 deficit.
Parking revenues came in at $14.6 million, about $378,388 short of budget. Reports show the DDA expected the Forest Avenue parking structure to bring in $243,392 more than it did.
Overall, parking fund expenses came in at $17.7 million, which was about 10 percent under budget but still led to a $3.1 million deficit when factoring capital expenses. Operationally, however, the parking system turned a profit of about $2.6 million this past year.
Of the 15 parking structures or lots that the DDA manages, all but four turned a profit. Fourth and Washington was the biggest money loser, costing the DDA about $379,069 more than it made. The DDA also lost about $8,358 on meters and meter bags.
The most profitable parking structure was Liberty Square, which brought in nearly $1 million after costs. The Ann and Ashley structure turned a profit of $680,753, and the Maynard structure made a profit of $526,964.
DDA officials also relayed a report today showing parking revenues during the Ann Arbor Art Fairs were down $25,950 this year. Most of that was a result of the Library Lot being closed for construction of the new underground parking structure.