Hartford panel OKs plan for new downtown parking lot
Trio to help city pay for purchase, improvements

By Joe VanDeLaarschot

May 29, 2019

 This overgrown lot with the deteriorating house, at the corner of Mill and Park Avenue, has been purchased to become a new city parking lot. The total cost of the project after all reimbursements from the Cobblestone Hotel, the Mineshaft and the Hartford BID, would be about $193,000. The city’s Public Works Committee approved the proposal on Tuesday night. It will now go before the Common Council for final approval.
Joe VanDeLaarschot/Daily News Staff

HARTFORD — A proposal to increase parking in the city’s downtown was recommended unanimously by the Common Council’s Public Works Committee during the group’s regular meeting at City Hall Tuesday night.

In the fall of 2018 local merchants requested the city review the downtown parking shortage. City Administrator Steve Volkert said city staff reviewed where additional parking might be available and convenient for downtown customers.

“A location was found at the corner of Mill and Park Avenue,” Volkert said. “The owners of the property were made an offer and they accepted the offer to sell.”

Volkert said the nearby Cobblestone Hotel and the Mineshaft restaurant as well as the downtown Business Improvement District agreed verbally to help finance the conversion of the residential property into a municipal parking lot. The site currently has a dilapidated two-story home on it along with a yard that is heavily overgrown with weeds, trees, shrubs and other undergrowth.

“The net estimated total cost of the project to the city is $193,000 after all reimbursements are collected for the three other parties,” Volkert said. “These funds would come from the originally allocated $1 million the city approved for downtown improvements in 2015.”

Adjacent to the new parking lot is a gravel-surfaced parking area, owned by Thomas Masters who also owns the nearby Mineshaft. Private citizens are already allowed to park in the lot owned by Masters. Part of the deal with the city regarding the new parking lot is that Masters’ lot will be given an asphalt surface when the adjacent new city lot is completed. Both of the lots will then have parking stalls marked and painted.

“The new lot will give us about 42 additional parking spaces and with the spaces available in the other lot (owned by Masters) there should be a total of 86 parking stalls,” Volkert said. “Part of the agreement with the hotel is that some stalls (eight) are to be reserved for overnight parking by hotel customers.”

The deal with Masters was part of a separate parking easement agreement.

“The agreement with the seller of the property will allow the city to take it over as of July 31,” Volkert said. “Work can begin right after that on demolition of the structures on the site. All of the work could have the lot ready for use by October.”

Alderman and committee member Dennis Hegy asked Volkert about landscaping for the new parking lot site.

“Might you consider some plantings of some kind on the lot?” Hegy asked. “It’s going to look pretty barren there when everything is done.”

Volkert said they would take a look at possibly doing something to beautify the parking lot area, but couldn’t say what that might be at this time.

As part of the parking lot construction new lighting would also be added in both parking lots. The proposals must still go before the Common Council for final approval, which could come at the group’s June meeting.

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