Notice provided by Catherine Johnson
Tonight in city hall at 7 pm there will be a workshop to aid the common council in considering transfering funds to design/plan a parking garage from the College/Court St block to Washington/Court. A federal fund of approx $8 million plus the required 20% city match of $1.6 million will pay for the garage construction once designed. A 2007-08 parking study led by a committee headed by Gerry Daley concluded with the decision to use the funds to rebuild the city-owned Arcade over other choices.
Recently hired parking director Tom Hartley has suggested the change of location would be a better use of funds, as the Washington/Court (“Melilli”) block has significantly more retail and commercial space along Main Street than the College/Court (“Arcade”) block. Hartley believes the Arcade is best used as is (can be repaired, paid for by parking fees), and left to a future developer to reconfigure the parking as a future project would deem necessary.
Hartley’s primary interest is to increase parking capacity on the Melilli block, not to advocate a particular location or garage design within that block. His hope is that if funds are transferred, then the ideal design can be figured out. He has made one suggestion of where the garage might be located, so as to not disturb more than a section of the current $900,000+ repaving and regarding of the Melilli lot. The suggestion is to build a 270’ long parking garage along Washington Street, one of the 2007 plans. Some property and business owners have been led to believe this is the purpose of the workshop tonight: that is incorrect. The workshop is only to discuss the benefit or disadvantage of shifting the money to the Melilli block from the Arcade block.