The Laramie City Council is slated to consider a proposal to terminate a parking agreement on 1st Street to make way for an apartment building at its May 7th meeting.

The council held a workshop to discuss the proposal on April 24th. You can see the video of the meeting below.

Mayor Brian Harrington moderated the workshop.

According to information from the city, the proposal pertains to the Ist Street parking lot. The lease for the lot was signed in 1994 and amended in 1997 and 2008 to revise the amount of public/private parking to establish the First Street Plaza. The lease runs for 50 years.

The proposal is from the Stencil Group, a Sioux Falls, South Dakota-based contractor. If built, the apartment complex would include 88 units. According to the Stencil Group, they envision the apartments as housing a mix of college-age tenants and people over the age of 50 years, and that has been the trend with similar projects they have built in the past.

No votes were taken at the meeting, as it was a workshop intended to discuss the proposal and get input from the Stencil Group, city officials, and the public.

The formal process of considering the idea will get underway at the May 7th meeting.

Comments from the public at the workshop were mixed.

Norbert Kriebel told the meeting that while he likes the idea of new housing, a location on North Fourth Street might work better. He says over 3.6 acres with seven plats ''all ready to go" would be available there. He added that building the complex there would not disrupt traffic as much as the 1st Street location. He said the project could include over 600 units on N. Fourth rather than the 88 proposed for 1st Street.

Kriebel suggested the city look at an in-kind land transfer to allow for the complex on North Fourth Street, although he conceded that he doesn't know if that is possible.

'It's Time That We See Something Like This"

Jodi Guerin, who owns property in the area, said she and her husband have been contacted about possibly selling a parcel of the parking lot for the project and said that after some discussion, "we would be interested." She also noted that adding the 150 or so people who would likely live in the apartments would be "pretty significant in terms of retail improvement" for downtown businesses. ''I think it's time that we see something like this," Guerin said.

Commenter Says More Rental Units Aren't What Laramie Needs

But Evan Egonoff said that when he heard about the proposal, ''it kind of made me chuckle." He said, 'It's really sad to me that we are looking at doing these projects. Especially with rental properties. Young professionals and young families need single-family housing. Rental properties just exacerbate the housing issue." He said Laramie is already full of rental properties, while "the stereotypical way to American wealth is owning a home." He went on to say that he doesn't see how "urbanizing the historic downtown is really helping the problem."

Here is a video of the meeting.




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