Construction of a 56-space parking lot at the corner of Madison and Wayne streets in Old Hilliard is expected to begin next month if Hilliard City Council approves a contract Monday, April 23.

The city postponed the project last year because all three bids the city received in September exceeded the Franklin County Engineer's Office's estimate of $212,300 by more than 10 percent, said Clark Rausch, Hilliard's deputy engineer.

"We rebid the project and have an awardable bid," Rausch said.

Because each of the three bids received last year "were in the same ballpark," he said, city officials knew the estimate was too low and a revised estimate was sought.

The bids were solicited this year on a new engineer's estimate of $321,500 and three bids were received, Rausch said.

City Council is expected April 23 to award the contract to Plain City-based Danbert Contractors for $314,025, slightly less than the estimate, he said.

The new parking lot would be on 0.3 acre the city acquired last year from Hilliard City Schools.

The vacant parcel has no address, Rausch said.

In April 2017, City Council approved waiving water-capacity fees valued at $66,331 required for the district's new Memorial Middle School on Walker Road in exchange for the district deeding the 0.3 acre at Madison and Wayne streets to the city.

The district also approved the agreement.

"This project is the result of two public agencies working together to provide some necessary improvements for public use," Rausch said.

Though no parking study has been conducted, Mayor Don Schonhardt has said on multiple occasions that more people have been coming to Old Hilliard, including for such attractions as outdoor concerts and other activities at Hilliard's Station Park, and additional parking is needed.

Although the engineering department does not know precisely how many patrons attend events, "the most major, reoccurring need for additional parking has been for the Thursday night (summer) concert (series) at Hilliard's Station Park," Rausch said.

The opening of new restaurants in the district is also expected to increase the need for spaces, he said.

The city has approximately 200 parking spaces on Main Street, Center Street and the parking lots off Center Street, Rausch said.

The city also has approximately 35 spaces on Norwich Street between Chase Bank and Linda Road, he said.

Rausch said construction of the parking lot is expected to begin in May and be completed in 90 days.

"It should be done by the end of July," he said.