City officials and council members break ground on the development on Troy, or “dot,” mixed-use parking structure Saturday, Feb. 2.

City officials and council members break ground on the development on Troy, or “dot,” mixed-use parking structure Saturday, Feb. 2.

Photo by Mike Koury City

Ferndale breaks ground on ‘dot’ parking deck

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published February 5, 2019


FERNDALE — For close to two years, Ferndale has been working to make “The dot” a reality.

The reality is now here, as the city finally broke ground on the West Troy Street parking lot to begin construction on the mixed-use parking structure on Saturday, Feb. 2. City officials and council members, led by Mayor Dave Coulter, took their shovels to sand placed on the pavement to signify the beginning of construction that will last more than a year.

“This day is a long time coming,” Coulter said in a speech to onlookers. “We took our time to make sure that we got the right project in the right spot in the right way. As you can imagine, we’ve heard a lot of people tell us this is a special community — don’t mess it up. So we think we have the right project. We know we have the right project — something that is going to enhance the character of our community. ”

The city has high expectations for the 400-space parking structure that also will hold office space and residential units, including a hope that it will add street-level activation to the area and bring more people to Ferndale in the daytime.

While Coulter acknowledged the excitement of getting this project started, he said this isn’t the time to celebrate, as that will come after the ribbon is cut. The mayor also was conscious of how this construction period is going to be an inconvenience for the downtown businesses, visitors and residents who live nearby.

“We’re very mindful of that,” he said. “For those of you who are business owners or residents, I want you to know that we’ve tried to listen as best we could to your concerns and incorporate them, not only in the design, but in the construction schedule. It’s not perfect, but know that we will continue to listen to you, and to come to us with those things. We know this is going to be inconvenient for a while, and we’ll do our best to manage that.”

Coulter gave special thanks to Assistant City Manager Joseph Gacioch, who he said spent more time learning about building parking decks than he ever thought he would.

“This would not be possible today without the hard work and knowledge of our assistant city manager,” Coulter said.

Gacioch led Ferndale through a year of public engagement and design work to get to Saturday’s groundbreaking. He said it was “unreal” that they actually arrived at this day.

“It’s been two years in the making, and when you’re actually on the lot with no cars, it really sinks into reality at that moment,” he said. “I’m just excited to get it done. The mayor’s right: It is going to be inconvenient for the year, but we think we have the right vision and it’s going to be worth it.”

The name “The dot” references that the mixed-use parking structure is the “development on Troy.”