The somewhat chaotic parking situation along the North End of Main Street has prompted action from the Economic Development Committee. The committee unanimously recommended that the City lease a private lot for six months to help North End businesses.
The committee held a special meeting Tuesday evening, primarily to deal with a request for assistance from the owners of businesses in the "NoRA" neighborhood, north of Rapallo Avenue.
City Planner Bill Warner noted that when the new Community Health Care building was constructed, it eliminated a 55 spot parking lot next to Eli Cannon's Tap Room. As a result Eli's and other businesses have been dealing with a disrupted and sometimes unpredictable parking situation for almost 2 years.
During that time, Eli's owner Phil Ouellette has been leasing parking space in a lot adjacent to the old trolley barn building behind his restaurant. That lot is also part of a city plan to create one large parking area to serve businesses at the north end of Main Street. The plan is proceeding, but soil testing and an eminent domain court case need to be resolved before it can be completed.
The committee recommended to the Common Council that the city spend $6,000 to lease the lot for six months while the city parking plan is completed, and make the parking available to the general public.
The committee also recommended that a resolution be made allowing the city to enter into an agreement with the state's Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority, to become one of 12 pilot communities offering funding to local businesses to help with clean energy investments.