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Charles Town officials discuss parking garage

July 31, 2008|By DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. -- The possibility of building a garage to deal with growing parking demands in downtown Charles Town was discussed Wednesday night during a meeting of council of governments, where local governments meet informally to discuss issues.

Gary Rawlings, Charles Town's new city manager, said perhaps a revenue bond could be floated to build the garage.

Then large users like a bank or perhaps the American Public University System - which has 185 employees in town - might be interested in leasing spaces to help pay off the project, Rawlings said.

Parking availability has become an issue in town and an example of a parking crunch came with the arrival of American Public University - an online school that is operating in or getting ready to occupy 10 buildings in town.

When the school's employees began occupying large portions of the city's parking spaces, it drew some complaints from business owners and residents, officials said.

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The city expanded its parking permit program in an attempt to open new spaces for the school.

Rawlings said it is too early to say how large a parking garage could be or what its cost might be.

But it's an obvious approach to the problem, Rawlings said.

"They only way to go is up," Rawlings said.

Jefferson County Commission President Frances Morgan, who attended the meeting at the Charles Town Library, said parking downtown is like "hydraulic pressure. It's getting tighter all the time."

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