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The Saratogian Newsroom blog, complete with thoughts and commentary from our newsroom staff and regular posts on happenings around town.

Tuesday, November 29

Parking deck vote put off-- but the project is not

The City Council decided not to vote on a measure to add the Woodlawn Avenue Parking Deck to the 2011 Capital Improvement budget Tuesday night citing a lack of time to review the proposal.
Mayor Scott Johnson withdrew the discussion and vote from his agenda. “I want to give people more time to absorb it and vote Dec. 6,” he said.
Johnson said adding it to the 2011 Capital Budget is necessary because "the process is unfolding and the bids are coming in. The goal here is to not interfere with a tight timeline.”
A public hearing was held on the parking deck, which will be located on the city-owned Woodlawn Avenue parking lot. It will start as a single additional floor of parking above the ground floor but will be designed to accommodate a third level.
Requests for bids for the design/build project were put out Nov. 16 and are due to be opened Monday. The projected timeline has the parking deck being open before racing season.
The decision to put off the vote to Tuesday came a week after a meeting of potential bidders on the project complained about too little time to work on the project and only moments before a series of people speaking at the public hearing on the topic said the overall timeline is too rushed.
“The rush this is being put under has a lot of implications,” said Pat Kane, who said it could be inadequately planned out. He said it is a “winner of an idea,” but that it was on too accelerated a timeline. “August will be August with or without this parking deck.”
Public Safety Commissioner-Elect Christian Mathiesen echoed Kane’s concerns. He said it would not be his first priority and would like to see a more mixed-use proposal, though he admitted parking is an issue that needs to be addressed.
Both men said construction should be delayed until September. “I think it will have less of an impact on our tourist season,” he said. Mathiesen said he is concerned about the potential for the project to be delayed into racing season. “Take time for the design process,” he said.
Others in the audience at the public hearing had an alternative opinion.
“If you look back in the Chambers’ file on parking decks, this has been talked about for 30 years,” said President of the Saratoga Chamber of Commerce Todd Shimkus. “I think it has been delayed enough.”
He said getting the lot complete to be used during racing season “makes the most sense.”
Bids will be opened in the City Council Chambers Monday, Dec. 5, a deadline that was extended to allow designers an additional weekend to work on the project.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is long over due. The city cries about money but does nothing to promote downtown.

It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that this will bring much needed sales tax revenue to the city. You have to spend money to make money.

How many business have to leave downtown before the city makes an investment in parking? If your anti parking garage you are anti business.

November 29, 2011 at 11:04 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The parking discussion has been a topic for many years. There never was a solid proposal. And it always was a political football.
And this one is no different. There is such a rush, for what? Racing season? The City near there would be all torn up during MAY, JUNE, and July! These months are very important months too!!
Starting this project in September make senses would have less impact on the tax sales tax base.
This might be rushed for Political purposes only.

November 30, 2011 at 10:35 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No one is saying no to the garage.

They are saying timing is important. Demonstrate that you have a grasp of the situations, not just applying a Band Aid to a situation.

This not a "Field of Dreams" movie where "you build it and they will come"

Go talk with Businesses near the Railroad Place construction site now!! They are off 30-40%.


Sales Tax revenue is just fine according to Mr Ivins. (last night city council)
The rents in the downtown area is the biggest problem.
What can be done there to motivate building owners to reduce rents to ensure the shops remain open.

Borders Bookstore is gone and is showing no sign of refilling.

Two buildings owned by Mr Panza will be auctioned off on Thursday
( Shoe Depot and Corner of Spring& Broadway)
The Adelphi Hotel is up sale at 1/2 of it's asking price 4 years ago.

Brandis's Restaurant is closed for good.
The Grey Gelding Restaurant is closed and bankrupt.

Max London's is next

The Downtowner Motel is in Bankruptcy.

Look around and see empty parking lots.
Lets focus on marketing efforts, Economic development programs,

Why is the Saratogian lot 3/4 empty every day and night. The lot next to The Parting Glass empty.
The dirt parking lot next to the Episcaple Church empty.
We need a Parking Authority established to create parking all over town.

November 30, 2011 at 10:57 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Allowing this project to be delayed would be catsatropic and possibly more costly in the contruction costs. Delaying the project co-inciding with the Lillian's parking lot prior to season would choke off a serious amount of potential revenue to businesses and sales tax simulataneouly. It would be fically irresonible to delay this project. Kicking he can down the road is not a viable solution.

November 30, 2011 at 1:30 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Saratoga Springs is moving in a new direction...In the past Buisness on Broadway was "nurtured"...Today multi storied "condo" units built on every parking area downtown seem to be our direction...Downtown buisness seems to be failing in revenue production...Hence auctions "closings" and bankrupty....These are facts..
These new buildings are right in front of us every day...In all reality where is the parking for all this new construction going to be??Reality dictates that this parking garage is needed...Reality also dictates that if it is going to be built... It should be built right the first time....How much more will it cost all of us if additional floors are added at a later date??thanx

November 30, 2011 at 3:11 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very good point. If the bids come in lower than expected the third level should be added right away. I assume they will with over 30 contractors competing. We have always had failed businesses but that is at times because of poor operarions or flawed business plans.We have had failed retaurants in the past yet new ones open and are overly successful. Downtown Saratoga Springs is the Field of Dreams but it needs the proper concepts and surely needs to be mainted at a much higher level than current status. Whe Caroline and Phila St. look better than Broadway every weekend the city fails to impress our weekend guests who come from near and far. WE NEED THE PARKING GARAGE AND WE NEED TO IMPRESS NOT DEPRESS.

December 1, 2011 at 4:51 AM 

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