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Sewickley Council eyes possibility of parking garage

| Wednesday, June 19, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

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

Sewickley Council members Monday night approved a buy-sell agreement to purchase about 21,000 square feet of land where the former Ascot Motors stood along Walnut Street for $910,000 for the possible development of a parking garage. The land is owned by One Thorn Street LLC.

Council members James Morrill and Robert Glenn voted no. Charlie Driscoll, Stan Ference and Bill Cornman were not present.

The approval could be contingent on financing agreements and state Department of Community and Economic, among other items.

Borough Manager Kevin Flannery said the cost for the garage would be determined when a plan was created. He estimated about 72 spaces could be created on a flat surface lot and about 300 spaces could be added if a garage is built.

Morrill said he was concerned at the cost of buying the land when, he said, spaces in town are “half full” now.

Adding to the cost of buying the land is concern about moving Hoeys Run creek, which runs underneath the land, Glenn said. He estimated that moving the creek could cost $500,000.

A parking garage could offer revenue to area business owners and the municipality, council member Tom DeFazio said.

Without addressing parking, Mayor Brian Jeffe said future development could be stymied in the business district.

With the proposed 30,000 square feet of office and retail space expected to begin going up this summer in the area around Thorn and Walnut streets, Jeffe said parking spaces needed to accommodate development are a premium.

Council member Susan Aleshire agreed, saying the business district needs ample parking for future development and to entice shoppers to town.

“If we don't do it, it's a missed opportunity,” she said. “We have so much going on in town now … it's just going to continue.”

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

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