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Meeting planned to discuss proposed parking garage in Sewickley's business district

| Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013, 12:45 p.m.

A public meeting is planned tonight to discuss Sewickley Council's proposed plans for a parking garage.

The meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. at Sweetwater Center for the Arts, 200 Broad St., Sewickley.

Council members and borough leaders are expected to be at the meeting to discuss plans with those who attend. The meeting was organized by Village Green Partners — a nonprofit group with a focus of marketing the business district through events and other development efforts.

Council members began discussing earlier this year plans to consider a nearly 300-space parking garage on Walnut Street.

In July, council members approved the transfer of $910,000 from reserve funds and the general fund to cover the cost of purchasing 21,000 square feet of land where the former Ascot Motors stood on Walnut Street.In an 8-1 vote last month, council approved having Downtown-based financial services firm Janney Montgomery Scott LLC provide due diligence for a bond in the amount of $8.5 million to cover costs associated with a garage. Council member James Morrill voted no.

Some members of council have questioned the borough's process for financing and constructing the garage.

“We haven't started the process with planning commission (and) there are zoning changes to be made that expose us to the risk of litigation,” council member Stan Ference said last month.

Borough leaders have said repayment of the garage and a proposed upgraded parking meter system would come from those who use the spaces — not from borough residents.

Council members last month did not move forward with plans to repair Hoey's Run — a stream that runs from War Memorial Park, under the proposed parking garage area and out to the Ohio River.

Flannery said repairing the stream could cost $600,000.

Council member Robert Glenn questioned the entire plan without more information.

“I don't think we should go ahead,” he said last month. “We don't even have solid bids on Hoey's Run.”

Council President Bob Hague said leaders have not made a final decision on a garage, and he expects formal public hearings to be held within the next two months to allow for more discussion on the proposed garage.

“We're not going to make quick and rash decisions,” he said.

Bobby Cherry is an associate editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-324-1408 or rcherry@tribweb.com.

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