Nicollet County is in the process of expanding parking options at the courthouse in Saint Peter.

The City Council has already approved the partial vacation of the Myrtle Street right-of-way to South Front Street. Two residential properties on the east side of South Front Street have been demolished to make way for the new parking lot that will provide approximately 40 to 50 new parking stalls.

Community Development Director Russ Wille says the City recognizes the area is congested with parked cars.

“Myrtle Street leads to no where out into the flood plain, so it really doesn’t provide any connectivity or circulation that is necessary. The next step would be for the County to rezone one of those residential properties to Central Business District. The property on the north of Myrtle Street is already Central Business District, this will rezone the property south of Myrtle Street. Then the third step would be they apply for a conditional use permit.

Around two more months of planning remains before construction of the off-street parking facility begins, but officials anticipate the project to be completed this year.

“The city may require that the entrance be relocated so it lines up with the drive across Front Street so we don’t have turning conflicts. We’ll decide what they need for lighting, would they require fencing, there are a couple of storm water issues that need to be addressed.

The Saint Peter Police Department along with the Public Works Department will decide if parking on South Front Street will be restricted or not.

“I think it will be a good thing for the County, it’ll get their employees off the street. We hope then that Front Street doesn’t become more of a raceway. You get a wider corridor and people may feel a little emboldened to drive faster.”

City Officials say the undeveloped portion of Myrtle Street is located within the Minnesota River flood plain, making development in the future unlikely do to it being cost prohibitive.