Updated 03/27/2012 06:33 PM
Parking garage rehab project likely to soon begin
It's been billed as a crucial step to the redevelopment of Downtown Pittsfield. Now, city leaders are one step closer to renovating a parking garage they say is downright unsound. Our Brandon Walker reports.
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- From rusty, to corroded and downright chipped away, the McKay Street Parking Garage looks more like a city liability than an asset.
"Like any infrastructure it has to be maintained," said Pittsfield Mayor Dan Bianchi. "It's a 25 year old facility."
At 25 years old, the steel supports holding up the garage are rusty and corroded. Brick side posts are chipping away and potholes litter the upper level roof. The city hopes to start a $6.5 million rehab project on the garage as soon as next month.
"Reinvestment in critical parking structure which serves the business community during the day and recreational community at night and on weekends," said Jonathan Lothrop, Pittsfield City Council, Ward 5.
Though before repairs can start, the city council must approve a $1.5 million loan. The city already has $3.5 million in grants and $2 million set aside in capitol funds. The loan request will likely go through the council's finance committee for consideration.
"We're getting about 60 cents on the dollar paid for by state grants, so I think it's a good opportunity to take advantage of that," Lothrop said.
One of the questions likely to be brought up for consideration to the finance committee is whether the project will generate enough revenue to validate the loan.
"Well I think what we have to do is not just a revenue generator for this project, but we have to have a comprehensive look at parking in the City of Pittsfield," Mayor Bianchi said.
That conversation would look into whether the city needs a parking authority and if it would manage parking revenue.
Right now, city parking is free, though spaces are time sensitive.
"It's probably something that we're probably going to have to engage somebody to look at," Bianchi said.
Plans are for the rehab project to be done by next spring.