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Birmingham approves parking garage contracts

By Kevin Elliott


Although no emergency repairs are needed at any of Birmingham’s five parking structures, work will commence at four of the facilities following approval on Monday, September 20, by city commissioners.


The city’s police department took over parking management responsibilities last year. That move was made following emergency repairs made at the city’s N. Old Woodward parking deck after pieces of the structure’s facade fell off and damaged a vehicle.


“This is not within the (police) mission, but they have willingly picked it up, and they do whatever I ask in terms of getting this stuff done,” said Birmingham City Manager Tom Markus about the department’s oversight of the parking system. “I want to commend them for their teamwork and willingness to step up and help out the situation.”


Birmingham Police Commander Scott Grewe said structural assessments have been done at each of the five structures, along with a review of operations and service contracts. He said the contract with SP Plus Corporation, which manages day-to-day operations of the structures, had several areas of concern.


Grewe said the review showed the city’s contract with SP Plus was “fraught with paragraphs and provisions whereby it would appear as though the employees of SP Plus were acting more as and assuming responsibilities as though they were Birmingham employees.


“Therefore, it became necessary to rewrite and rework this contract so as to make it very clear that the employees of SP Plus are not under the domain and umbrella of the city of Birmingham, and, thereby not assuming any responsibilities and liabilities for SP Plus employees.”


Commissioners on September 20 approved an updated version of the contract with SP Plus. Grewe said the changes related to the issues regarding employees, not the cost of the contract.


The city operates five parking structures, including the Pierce Street parking structure, 333 Pierce Street; Park Street parking structure, 333 Park Street; North Old Woodward parking structure, 333 N. Old Woodward; Chester Street Parking Structure, 180 Chester; Peabody Street parking structure, 222 Peabody.


Grewe said structural assessment reports have been completed for four of the city’s parking structures, including a five-year plan to address all repairs needed. Repairs were broken into three categories: immediate recommendations, or those needed within a year; near-term recommendations, or those needed within one to two years; and long-term repairs, for those needed within three to five years. While no emergency repairs were found to be needed, there were several items in the immediate category.


City commissioners also approved contracting with Pullman SST for maintenance work at the city’s Park, Peabody and Chester streets structures in the amount of $436,500. The approval comes on the heels of a $891,303 contract approval for work at the N. Old Woodward structure. The funds are budgeted from the city Automobile Parking System Fund, which has a balance of about $18,575,611. The company has done repairs for structures owned by the city of Detroit and Detroit Metropolitan Airport.


Grewe said most of the repairs relate to joint seals, waterproofing, clearing clogged drain lines and removing and replacing damaged drains and covers.


Commissioner Rackeline Hoff questioned whether work was needed for the Pierce Street structure this year. Grewe said the assessment of the Pierce Street structure is “ongoing” and will be addressed in the spring.

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