By Anna Toth
As students scrambled to buy their spring parking passes on the morning of Dec. 1, Cleveland State prepares to send off a Request for Proposals (RFPS) to three different parking operators to decide on the future of parking at Cleveland State.
The chosen parking operator would take over the management of Cleveland State’s parking, including maintenance, operation and further development of the garages. In return, Cleveland State would receive a check – paid upfront and in full – that would go into an endowment fund. This fund would help decrease the school’s estimated debt of $24 million.
Ben Rogers, director of program analysis and assessments, has been working with the Office of Performance Management to meet with students, faculty and staff on campus to shape significant parts of this deal. Earlier this semester, The Cauldron reported on a lackluster response to the town halls hosted by Rogers.
That hasn’t changed on the student side and only 500 people in total have attended all of the town halls hosted from early October into November.
“The biggest thing is that people think it’s a done deal,” Rogers said. “They think their input won’t have an impact.”
Right now, the university is finalizing a RFP from the three parking operators in running. The RFP outlines the wants and needs of the university from the parking operators.
To make up for the lack of student response, Rogers has been working closely with the Student Government Association who in turn reach out to student leaders. In addition, Rogers emphasizes that there are plenty of opportunities for people to participate in the conversation – especially if they visit the Office of Performance management website.
Currently, some key parts of the RFP so far is the inclusion of a minimum of 3,900 parking spaces reserved for students as well as permanent parking during daytime hours. A third party parking operator would be able to sell parking spaces to the public after daytime hours, as long as there are a minimum of 3,900 spaces for students at all times.
The RFP also includes the demolishing and rebuilding of the central garage, as it’s reached the end of its life expectancy.
In addition, the third party operators will have to present a security plan that will be created in unison with the Cleveland State Police Department. Rogers hopes to get security cameras, lighting levels, monitoring as well as additional input from Cleveland State Police Department to make sure that student needs are met.
The RFP will be turned in by the end of spring semester with responses expected back from the operators by March. As the Strategic Parking Partnership moves into the next steps, Rogers is still adamant about making sure that the public is informed and involved in these decisions.
“We are still taking feedback and are interested in what they have to say,” Rogers said. “We’re trying to get as much information out to the public as we can.”