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New parking lot goes into operation

November 13, 2000|By DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

New parking lot goes into operation



After six years and more than $1.8 million, Jack Garrott's plan to improve parking in downtown Hagerstown is a reality.

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The new and improved Central Parking Lot between the first blocks of East Washington and East Franklin street is bigger, easier to get to and better-looking.

"I think the key (phrase) is user-friendly parking," Garrott said.

In 1994, the parking lot had 144 spaces, and access from Locust Street was through a narrow alley.

Today, the lot has 301 spaces, with two spots for tour buses, two spots for recreational vehicles and a two-lane entrance at Locust Street.

Also, the parking lot has new landscaping, many of the overhead utility lines were moved underground and decorative street lights were added.

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"For me it was obvious for years that downtown Hagerstown needs more parking and the perception of more parking," said Garrott, 74.

Also, providing space for tour buses was important for Garrott.

"If the tour bus has no place to go they'll go someplace else," he said.

The improved parking lot will be formally dedicated during a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday afternoon.

The project was primarily funded by the city. The Washington County government contributed about $300,000 to the project.

"I think it serves several purposes," said City Councilman William M. Breichner.

"It opens up the back of properties to be used. It cleans up the area and gives it some light, some air and some use. It's much more attractive than the old parking lot," said Breichner, a councilman since the project began.

In addition to city officials, Garrott gave the Greater Hagerstown Committee credit for helping his idea become a reality.

"The Greater Hagerstown Committee gave credibility to the plan. If it was just one person it would have been difficult to get done," Garrott said.

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