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Sewickley could add public parking

| Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, 8:27 p.m.

More parking is at least one step closer to reality in Sewickley's business district.

Council members as early as next month could consider paying $480,000 to One Thorn Street LLC for roughly 12,000 square feet of space in the 400 block of Thorn Street to expand the borough's Green Street public lot. It would add about 24 spaces to the nearly 60 spaces there now.

Council members also could consider constructing a parking garage on the site in the future, they said.

The sale could be contingent upon a three-year developer's agreement to construct office and retail space, including a proposed two-screen movie theater, at the site of the former Ascot car dealership, which spans from Thorn Street to Walnut Street.

Adding to worries council members have is how Hoey's Run — a stream under a portion of the business district — could be affected.

Council member Robert Glenn said he wants to see Hoey's Run relocated before development could begin and that borough leaders have discussed moving the stream for 20 years.

But he questioned the cost of moving the stream and creating parking, which could increase to about $1 million, including the price of purchasing the land.

“How long does it take 24 spaces to make half-a-million bucks?” Glenn asked.

Adding a parking lot — and future consideration of a garage — could offer revenue to area business owners and the municipality, council member Tom DeFazio said.

“There are intangible revenues here,” he said. “Tangible (revenue) is people sticking a quarter in the machine. But the intangible (revenues) are people coming into the business district and buying.”

About $500,000 has been pledged for the Village Theater Co. project, group spokeswoman Patty Jones said.

The nonprofit theater group needs $1.5 million by the end of June for construction to begin, she said.

Council member Bill Cornman questioned what the borough would do for future parking developments if council members did not purchase the land.

“The bottom line is, do we want that lot or not?” Cornman said. “If we don't buy it, where do we go for future? If we do buy it, we have something to use initially as a surface lot.”

Bobby Cherry is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-324-1408 orrcherry@tribweb.com.

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