The Ralston City Council voted Oct. 15 to enter negotiations with Urban Waters to develop the city owned parking lot on Park Drive.
According to a redevelopment proposal from Urban Waters, the parking lot will be repurposed primarily for multi-family housing.
Mayor Don Groesser said there is no timeline for when the negotiations or the parking lot project will be completed.
“Change is scary and change is never easy, but we have an opportunity here to make downtown Ralston grow and that’s what we are going to try to do,” Groesser said.
This project is part of the overarching Hinge Project to redevelop the area from the Ralston Arena to 72nd and Main Streets and then into downtown.
The idea behind the Hinge Project is to draw more people who attend events at Ralston Arena further into Ralston and into the downtown area before and after events.
Ralston Area Chamber of Commerce President Amy Roeder said this development will bring more density to Ralston.
She said since Ralston is landlocked, the city has a problem getting more people and to lure more businesses to town, the city needs to find ways to create more attractions in its downtown space.
“Any redevelopment in Ralston will be really exciting. It’s something that we need to do,” Roeder said.
”We have some great businesses and people in Ralston but we need to keep developing to go forward.”
Some of the complaints from the community around the proposed redevelopment have centered on the perceived lack of parking in downtown Ralston.
Groesser said if a map of a Walmart parking lot was put on top of a map of Ralston’s downtown area, the Walmart parking lot would be larger than the downtown area.
“It’s an interesting way of looking at how far you have to walk in our downtown to get to a store front,” Groesser said.
“If you go to Walmart and park on the outside edge you are walking one or two blocks to get to the store.”
He said the city will do a parking study and figure out solutions to parking problems.