By JOHN T. WARD
The borough government and the autonomous downtown promotion agency are close to a formal agreement under which the two would split the estimated $80,000 cost of the work, RiverCenter executive director Jim Scavone said Friday.
Is this a signal that RiverCenter might share in further costs of a garage, should one be built?
“I really don’t have an answer for that,” Scavone said. “It absolutely depends on what ends up happening on the site. We just know there’s no going forward until the preliminary work is done, and we’re happy to participate in that much, at least.”
Mayor Pasquale Menna said the agreement could be ready for approval by the borough council as early as its next semimonthly meeting, on September 23.
The concept of a new, centrally located garage has strong support among downtown merchants and restaurateurs. But twice in the early part of this century, the borough has abandoned plans to move ahead with one in the face of resident pushback over financing.
Menna said the soil testing is the next step recommended in a June, 2014 report by the civil engineering firm CME Associates on the town’s options regarding parking.
The work, Menna said in June, is expected to include soil borings and environmental analyses to determine what’s beneath the asphalt of the 2.3-acre lot, which was created with the demolition of homes the borough acquired in the 1950s, before such assessments were needed.
The results are necessary to lay out the criteria for requests for proposals the borough would solicit from private-sector developers in the third step, Menna said.
Here’s the full CME report: CME White Street Lot Report 061714