The deal the city of Rock Hill made with Comporium Communications regarding a new parking garage seems perfectly reasonable.
The City Council on Monday voted unanimously to give Comporium exclusive rights to up to 49 spaces in a parking garage being built as an attachment to a four-story office building Comporium is building at the intersection of Elizabeth Lane and East Main Street. Councilman Kevin Sutton initially had some misgivings about giving Comporium exclusive rights to the parking spaces but ultimately voted with the rest of the council.
Sutton was worried that some would view the deal as unfair to other downtown businesses. But Comporium is doing more than its share to earn those parking spaces.
The parking deal is part of a commercial development plan between the company and the city that will transform the eastern part of downtown Rock Hill. The development, dubbed Downtown East, also will feature a new 1.6-acre city park near the Comporium building with a central fountain paid for by the company.
Comporium hopes to attract businesses such as law forms and possibly TD Bank, now located across Elizabeth Lane, to lease space in the new office building, known as Fountain Park Place. City planners hope the new buildings and the park will boost efforts to bring more businesses and visitors to the downtown area, a goal the city has been pursuing for decades.
While Comporium will have exclusive rights to 49 of the estimated 200 spaces in the new garage, the company has agreed to pay $50 to $100 a month for each of the spaces. And even those spaces will be available for use by the public after Comporium closes each day.
Comporium donated the land for the new garage, and city officials note that the money the company pays for parking spaces will help cover the city’s maintenance costs for the garage. And, under the development agreement, property taxes from the new office building will help the city pay back the cost of building the garage and the new park across the street.
We can’t imagine other downtown merchants being resentful of this arrangement. The parking garage will help relieve parking congestion throughout downtown, and the new office building and park will help attract more people – and more potential customers – to downtown businesses.
This project is typical for Comporium, one of Rock Hill’s most steadfast corporate citizens. Years ago, Comporium could have moved its headquarters out of downtown to a location that might have afforded more space and easier access for customers. Instead, it built new headquarters downtown, significantly upgrading the property it now occupies.
That kind of loyalty and dedication to the community should earn Comporium a few exclusive parking spaces. And if other businesses want a similar deal, we’re sure city officials would be eager to hear what they have to offer.