Parking deck plan revealed

August 19, 2003|by SCOTT BUTKI

A proposed 202-space parking deck near The Maryland Theatre on South Potomac Street would cost $2.4 million, with most of the money expected to come from government sources, according to a plan made public Monday.

The Hagerstown City Council is scheduled to discuss the funding plan for the parking deck at today's 4 p.m. work session. Members of the public generally are not allowed to speak at work sessions.

The planned five-level parking deck would be the second one on Potomac Street, less then two blocks from the five-level, 451-space deck on North Potomac, which opened in 1986.


The existing parking deck cost about $4.4 million, with all of the money coming from government sources, Assistant Finance Director Ray Foltz said Monday. About $1.5 million in debt is outstanding on that structure, Foltz said.

The planned deck would be built where the building that housed the Double T stood before it was demolished.

The Bowman Development Corp. plans to renovate the adjacent building, the former Tri-State Electric building, and a residential building adjacent to that, putting offices, businesses and apartments in the two buildings, city officials say.

While the parking deck would be adjacent to the Bowman renovations, the city is treating them as separate projects, saying the deck is needed as part of the planned Hagerstown Arts and Entertainment District, Hagerstown Mayor William M. Breichner said Monday.

Under the city's proposed financing plan, Bowman would lease 50 spaces per month at market rates for the term of the deck's debt financing, which probably would be about 15 to 20 years. That lease would guarantee a minimum of $24,000 to $30,000 in receipts a year, which would cover an estimated $20,000 in annual operating costs and some debt service, Foltz said.

The plan calls for $250,000 from the Washington County government but County Administrator Rodney Shoop on Monday said the commissioners would consider that request along with other funding request as part of the annual budget process.

While the city's budget is tight, it needs to find money for the parking deck construction, Hagerstown Councilman N. Linn Hendershot said.

"I don't think we can afford not to have the deck. It is just another piece in the puzzle," Hendershot said.

"The opportunity is now," Breichner said.

The deck would be about 150 feet from The Maryland Theatre, officials with Bowman say.

Maryland Theatre Executive Director Pat Wolford said she supports the project, saying it would help the theater and the area.

A model of how the section of the first block of South Potomac Street would look after the changes was shown to the Hagerstown City Council and Washington County Commissioners during a joint meeting on Aug. 5.

Funding proposal

The city of Hagerstown's proposed $2.4 million parking deck would be funded as follows, according to a city plan:

  • $250,000 from federal Community Development Block Grant funds.

  • $250,000 from the Washington County government.

  • $125,000 from city money left over from a prior capital project.

  • $75,000 from City Light to pay for improvements on the alleys.

  • $1.7 million to be financed, probably through a 15- to 20-year bond.

- Source: City documents

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