Thinking about the Montpelier parking garage, I think this would be a good time to rethink the proposal and maybe divert the $10 million to upgrade the failing infrastructure including streets, sidewalks, water and wastewater systems.
Originally, this project was promoted to abate a presumed parking problem.
I’ve lived in Montpelier for 56 years and never felt there was a parking problem.
It’s all in the economies of scale. If a citizen can’t find a parking space outside their preferred store to shop, they feel there is a parking problem. Usually you can find an adequate space within a short half-mile walk at another location.
With this said, I’m sure if you are going to shop the local hardware store, and can’t find a space, you most likely are not going to travel to the hotel to find a fourth-story parking spot in the garage, then walk back to the center of town to get your small item.
Remember this is a town of only 8,000 people, not a city of 80,000 where you would be very pleased to get a parking spot within a two-mile radius.
Another argument is the influx of out-of-town workers. Having worked for both the state and federal governments for 50 years in many offices throughout the city limits, I’ve found no problem finding parking if I timed my arrival and departure times right.
Finally as a retired civil engineer, I’ve worked with many structures and found parking structures, besides being aesthetically unpleasing, very hard to maintain. Many of these structures have been abandoned in smaller towns across the nation due to very low use and never enough funds to properly maintain.
In the $10 million bond are there funds earmarked for maintenance and operation, which is very costly for such a structure; and what is the financial impact on the fixed income taxpayers? I’m sure the director of public works would love to see these funds put into his budget to properly maintain the present infrastructure.
Also the locating of these newer structures has limited the nice view of the state Capitol coming into Montpelier from different directions. This trend started with the location and height of the VSECU, continuing with the bank building and now continuing with the transit center, and proposed new hotel and parking garage.
Montpelier is basically not a destination town, as there are no family attractions like a mountain resort or big lake in the foreground. Montpelier is more or less a pass-through for going someplace else, taking a few pictures of the Capital then proceeding to more attractive destinations. When the Legislature is not in session there are many more available parking opportunities.
Fred Costello is a Montpelier resident.