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Chamber proposes third Hagerstown parking deck

November 03, 2009|By ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN -- The Hagerstown City Council heard a proposal Tuesday from the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce to begin examining the feasibility of a third parking deck downtown.

There are two downtown parking decks, in the first blocks of North and South Potomac streets.

An informal survey of downtown businesses in the area indicated a demand for 842 spaces, said Shelby Penn of the Chamber's Downtown Task Force.

The Columbia Bank, Hagerstown Trust Division, is willing to negotiate with the city to develop the parking lot behind its West Washington Street branch, according to documents provided by Penn.

She described the endeavor as a "public-private deal."

The Chamber recommended the city take the lead in preparing a request for proposal. The estimated $25,000 cost of a feasibility and preliminary construction analysis would be shared by the city, county and businesses, Penn said.

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The $25,000 estimate for the preliminary analysis was drawn up after several conversations with parking deck firms, Penn said.

Councilman Martin Brubaker said while he supports looking at the parking situation, he doesn't think the city is at the stage to pay for physical measurements of the site. Neither of the existing garages pays for itself, he said.

Councilman William Breichner suggested an additional parking deck could be a catalyst for economic development.

Councilwoman Ashley Haywood wasn't convinced a third parking deck would encourage economic development, and said she would like to see further details about the parking study.

City Administrator Bruce Zimmerman said city staff could look at the financial and physical feasibility of the parking deck proposal.

Penn said she would not return to the council without county and private support for the cost of the feasibility study.

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