Lots of questions on Carr Lot
I recently attended the meeting on the Carr Lot at the senior center. I came away with a feeling that I had just attended a “smoke and mirrors show.” Officials made a big show out of letting us pick a design for the building, which is hard to do when one doesn’t know what the building will be used for. We know for the city’s part, there will be a bus station. The developer, Redstone, seems to want a hotel for the part it is paying for. According to them, this is the most profitable choice of uses.
At our small group, I asked, “Where will there be parking for this hotel?” One person who seemed to know a lot about the project told us it would be valet parking. In the city of Montpelier, where parking is as scarce as hen’s teeth during the week, and people are forced to park on side streets (which makes winter travel tricky), I don’t think we should add more parking to the problem.
A statement was made that night by one of our city officials that we have to do something to pay for the lot, otherwise property taxes would have to go up. Well, why did we buy the darn thing in the first place if we couldn’t pay for it? Why not let the state buy it and use for a parking lot; the state has been leasing it for that.
There will be another of these meetings in July. By then, I hope that city officials and Redstone will be upfront with taxpayers and tell them what they are going to use this space for.
Years ago, they didn’t want a national chain like McDonald’s here. Despite the efforts of the local owners of the Capitol Plaza to make their building (and block) into a wonderful space with a hotel, fine eating and business space, it feels like local officials want to throw them under the bus (which will stop at the new bus stop) in favor of a national hotel chain.
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