Features: DESMAN was contracted by the City of Lowell, Massachusetts to perform a Financial Feasibility and Bond Study for a Proposed Parking Authority. The study included an analysis of proposed parking authority legislation, a financial proforma of the existing parking system with the cost of a new 950 space parking structure. As part of the analysis of the parking system, it was necessary to review programs, policies and management structures associated with the delivery of on and off-street parking services. This included an analysis of on and off-street parking rates, charges for parking violations, the current management structure, and an analysis of the condition the City’s existing parking facilities. A goal of the study was to divest the City of parking management responsibilities, return the parking system to profitability, and remove the financial responsibilities of the City with respect to operation of the parking system and transfer those responsibilities to a new parking authority.
Description: Over the past century, the City of Lowell has undergone significant economic changes. In 1978, Lowell’s National Historical Park was established as a tribute to Lowell’s contributions to the Industrial Revolution. During the 1980’s the City experienced a revitalization that was caused by a technological rise. While celebrating its industrial roots, Lowell has attracted new technology companies and continues to provide a thriving and growing business friendly environment.
The early years of the revitalization process used the City’s then supply rich parking assets as a means to attract new business by charging below market rates. The City’s success has caused the parking supply to erode and now limits the ability of the City to attract new business in key development areas. Old rates and charges for parking needed to be adjusted upward and become market driven for the parking system to maintain its ability to grow with the City’s economic development initiatives. Recognizing the need for change, the City proposed the creation of a parking authority to improve the delivery of parking services and to remove parking debt from the City’s budget and transfer that debt and associated responsibilities to the new agency.
DESMAN quantified the costs that would be incurred to make the proposed parking authority solvent. DESMAN’S financial analysis set forth a timeline and roadmap for the authority’s future growth and activity. Changes in the proposed parking authority legislation were recommended that included adding the enforcement function to the proposed legislation to create a single source responsibility center to manage the totality of the City’s parking assets. New market rate fees and fines were recommended that would allow the new parking authority to issue revenue bonds. The proceeds of the bonds would be used to construct a new 950 space parking facility, provide system upgrades, and fully restore the City’s other parking facilities.
City of Lowell Financial Feasibility & Bond Study
City of Lowell – Division of Planning & Development