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Parking lots to be ready in April

Joe Napsha
| Monday, May 14, 2012, 2:12 a.m.

Motorists looking for parking spaces in downtown Greensburg should have an easier time this spring because almost 140 parking spaces in two lots are expected to be available.

Construction crews are grading the site of the former Pennsylvania Avenue Parking Garage in preparation for a 95-space surface lot, and demolition has begun for a 42-space surface lot adjacent to St. Clair Park. Thomas Sphon, city administrator said Wednesday that he anticipates both lots will be open by the end of April.

At the site of the former Pennsylvania Avenue garage, Ace Demolition of North Versailles is using heavy equipment to move earth to grade the sloping surface so the lot can be accessible from both South Pennsylvania Avenue and West Second Street.

The site preparation should be finished by April, in time for the opening of the asphalt-producing plants, Philip N. Shelapinsky, director of development at the Buncher Co. of Pittsburgh, said yesterday. The parking lot should be paved and completed by the end of April, Shelapinsky said.

Buncher, which bought the property from the city last year, will divide the site of the former garage and two adjacent city-surface lots off West Second Street into one lot that will be leased to the city and the other to the U.S. Postal Service for its mail delivery vehicles.

The garage was closed last year because of its deteriorated condition. The city decided to demolish it rather than spend several hundred thousand dollars rebuilding it.

On the northern end of the business district, C.J. King & Sons Inc. of Belle Vernon has demolished a former office building and one of two old houses adjacent to St. Clair Park on North Maple Avenue.

The city wanted to increase its parking spaces north of Pittsburgh Street and purchased the property from The Thorne Group Inc. for $230,000.

Although the site might be ready for parking on a rough surface prior to the opening of the asphalt plants in April, Sphon said the city will wait to pave the lot before opening it. That lot will be accessible from St. Clair Avenue.

The city expects to have about 50 more parking spaces by the end of the year when it replaces the upper deck that was above the surface lot on North Maple Avenue, between East Pittsburgh and East Otterman streets. The upper deck was removed last year because of its deteriorated condition.

The city will advertise for bids for the upper deck and plans to open those at council's April meeting, Sphon said. In the meantime, motorists still will be able to park on the surface lot along North Maple Avenue.

The city is considering moving some of the leased spaces from two lots on South Maple Avenue to the lot on North Maple Avenue, Sphon said. That would create more metered spaces for those using the Greensburg YMCA, which is adjacent to one of the lots.

Despite the parking woes last year, the city parking authority reported that the two remaining municipal parking garages - Robert Bell Parking Garage on West Otterman Street and the J. Edward Hutchinson Parking Garage on Shearer Street - generated $709,410 in revenue last year, an increase of $81,814.

Most of the increase came at the Hutchinson garage, which is used by patients and employees at Westmoreland Regional Hospital. The annual report showed revenue at $462,766, a $54,544 increase. The Bell garage generated $246,644 last year, a $27,270 increase.

The Pennsylvania Avenue garage, which was closed to public parking last May, generated only $13,472 last year. William DeFalco, parking authority manager, said most of that revenue came from the U.S. Postal Service, which leased 95 spaces in the former garage.

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