To the editor:
I’m trying to figure out why Lawrence needs to add another level to the parking garage for the library, the funds for which have already been approved by Lawrence voters. Presently, there are 126 spaces, which is more than adequate, even in the summer when the pool is open. The new garage will double that number to 250. The extra spaces will benefit our thriving downtown. But the commission wants to spend an additional $1.2 million to add another 74 spaces and have the businesses of downtown pay for it. Not just the business, but the churches, too. Trinity Episcopal, for example, will pay a $12,000 assessment over the 10-year benefit district, Plymouth about $10,000.
Why the extra expense when the 250 seems more than adequate? Could it be for the talked-about future development on the west side of the 600 block of Vermont (the post office) or the possible building on the east side of the 800 block where there is an existing parking lot? If this is the plan there should be a mechanism for the developers to either provide their own parking or pay for the additional level at the library. The downtown property owners already paid for the Ninth and New Hampshire garage, as did all Lawrence taxpayers, when the proposed development in that area failed to materialize about 10 years ago thereby nullifying the additional tax revenue it would have generated.
The “if we build it, they will come” doesn’t always work out and costs all money.