When it comes to using $5 million in library bond funds to build a parking structure or lot, we’re all for it – if and only if the lots and/or structure is the highest and best use for the entire community.

What’s clear is that all the options need to be gone over by the City Council. And there are many besides building a parking structure just to service the civic center.

For example, could the city offer up it’s parking lot behind downtown businesses off of Eigleberry Street and the $5 million for parking to entice private developers to build a parking/apartment structure? Adding housing downtown in a market that has few apartment options open brings people to shop and eat downtown. Add the parking and it becomes a dynamic boost for a struggling downtown.

There are plenty of alternatives to building a parking structure, too, which are less expensive. There are potential surface lots that could serve the civic center, downtown and venues like the Gilroy Center for the Arts.

It’s time to pull out the maps, mark them up, put together some numbers and come up with the best plan for Gilroy.

In fact, the parking lot issue might be well served by a separate Council study session, something that has gone by the wayside in recent years. But before that’s scheduled, an open discussion and specific direction to city staff should result in a staff report that puts all the options in front of the Council.

This is the type of decision that should be made with the potential benefits to the entire community in mind.

If it turns out that a parking lot or lots or a structure is not needed, then use the money to lessen the bond debt for Gilroy taxpayers and move on. Otherwise, build something that makes sense for the community, not just the civic center.

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