By Anna Toth
Cleveland State recently announced a potential solution to the parking perils that frequently plague the university — the Parking Strategic Partnership Project. The public-private partnership would be between Cleveland State and a qualified third-party parking operator.
The parking operator would pay a fee to the university to take responsibility for the school’s parking operations. Money earned from the partnership will be put into an endowment for the university, according to a message from the Office of the President.
The message explains that the decision to create the Parking Strategic Partnership was partially inspired by budget challenges facing the state of Ohio. Money put into the endowment will go toward supporting university initiatives, with more details to come at a later date.
In addition, the partnership would allow for upgrades to Cleveland State’s parking infrastructure. According to a statement from Ben Rogers, director of program analysis & assessments, the upgrades will be handled by the third-party operator, along with more routine activities involved with parking operations.
“The winning consortium will be responsible to operate and maintain all aspects of the asset,” Rogers said, “This includes routine activities such as janitorial and customer service to infrastructure investments such as building additional parking structures.”
Rodgers elaborated that the school is looking at three consortia – or business and organizations – to manage parking at Cleveland State; Impark, LAZ, and SP+. While no final decisions have been made yet, these three parking operators have gone through the Request for Qualifications process and have been deemed fit to handle parking at the university should they be picked.
While the parking operator that is picked will handle all operations of parking, permits and permit prices will still be sold through Cleveland State. While prices are usually evaluated on a yearly basis, Rodgers said that this partnership would allow the university to provide a long term rate schedule.
The CSU Police Department is also going to remain the first responder at the parking facilities, but outside of that, Cleveland State will no longer be involved with any other parking operations. This means that the staff involved with parking operations on campus currently may be effected.
“The university is currently working with Human Resources and external resources to understand the impact that this may have on have on the current parking staff,” said Rodgers.
Students have complained about parking availability and prices in the past. Rodgers declined to say how the Parking Strategic Partnership Project would affect parking availability on campus, but said that there is a provision to provide 4,000 parking spaces at any time.
Students wanting to get involved in the conversation can attend one of two town halls on Oct. 18 and 19. There is also a Parking Strategic Partnership Project Open House on Thursday, Oct. 12 in SC room 350 from 10am to noon.
While many things will remain unanswered until a parking operator is chosen, Rodgers ensured that the Parking Strategic Partnership Project will improve parking at Cleveland State.
“The goal of this project is to enhance the parking quality and resources to campus.”