The proposed parking lot upgrade came at the request of the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce's Downtown Parking Task Force. Members figured that by improving the aesthetics of the lot, which currently is covered with gravel, downtown employees might be more likely to take advantage of its long-term parking spaces and therefore free up short-term spaces on Massachusetts Street for shoppers.
City Manager Mike Wildgen said the plans called for landscaping to provide a buffer between the lot and residences along Rhode Island Street.
The parking advisory board, meanwhile, would handle more broad issues, but specifically be charged with making recommendations regarding the ``need, location, design, financing and other considerations of new or improved on-street and off-street parking facilities, including parking garages, in the downtown area.'' The chamber wants to build a new lot along the west side of Vermont Street, across from the Lawrence Aquatic Center and between the Lawrence Senior Center and Lawrence Public Library.