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Sewickley Council moves one step closer to parking garage

| Tuesday, July 16, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Sewickley Council members are one step closer to considering a public parking garage in the business district.

Council members this week approved the transfer of $910,000 from various reserve funds and the general fund to cover the cost of purchasing 21,000 square feet of land where the former Ascot Motors stood along Walnut Street. The land is owned by One Thorn Street LLC.

In addition, council members approved what they call a “reasonable expectation” to reimburse the borough's general fund and other operating and reserve funds, including any borrowing of money, for acquisition of the land. Total costs for construction of a parking facility should not exceed $8 million, the borough's resolution said.

Both motions passed unanimously.

Borough manager Kevin Flannery estimated about 72 spaces could be created on a flat surface lot and about 300 spaces could be added if a garage is built.

Council member Robert Glenn said he questioned the use of money from borough reserve funds.

“Everybody needs to know what plans forward are,” he said. “We have no contingency fund left.”

Flannery called the fund transfers “temporary” in an effort to save up to $25,000 in fees for borrowing money.

He said the agreement helps give council members time to decide if a garage could be built.

Adding to Glenn's concerns is the cost of moving Hoeys Run, which runs underneath the land, Glenn said. He previously estimated moving the creek could cost $500,000.

Flannery said repayment of the garage would come from revenue generated by people using the garage rather than taxpayers.

Council members could decide by mid-September if they plan to move forward with a parking garage. If so, construction could start as early as November with an anticipated opening in June.

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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