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Greenfield board OKs early parking garage design

  • An architectural rendering of the planned five-level, 352-space parking garage on Olive Street. Contributed image

  • An architectural rendering of the planned Olive Street parking garage. Contributed image

  • The entrance to the planned Olive Street parking garage, as seen from Olive Street. Contributed image

  • An architectural rendering of the planned Olive Street parking garage, as seen from Bank Row. Contributed image



Recorder Staff
Friday, April 21, 2017

GREENFIELD — The town has taken its next step toward the construction of a five-level, 352-space parking garage on Olive Street.

This week, the Planning Board approved an early design for the structure, which is scheduled to be built beginning in June or July. Once construction begins, the $10 million garage will take about a year to complete.

The structure is being designed by Jones-Whitsett Architects of Greenfield and Boston-based Desman Design Management. The garage will have two-way traffic and 90-degree parking. It is planned to be open 24 hours and is intended to help address a lack of parking caused by the opening of the new downtown courthouse this year, as well as provide parking for local businesses and cultural events.

Mayor William Martin said the town also has an agreement with Amtrak to provide spaces for people taking trains from the John W. Olver Transit Center across the street, which currently does not provide any long-term parking.

Martin said about 45 of the spaces are already committed to property owners in the downtown area, and people will also be able to buy parking permits for the garage. Martin said the number of permits has not yet been determined. The garage will also include at least eight handicapped spots.

Planning Board members said they were pleased with the building’s design, which features a fully enclosed stair tower and elevator at the Olive Street entrance, next to where cars will enter the garage. There is also another stairway planned for the opposite end of the garage, with an exit onto Bank Row. A small park with benches, a bicycle rack, trees and shrubs will be added next to that entrance.

“People will be able to get over, up to Main Street through the park. They can have lunch in the park if they want to,” said Tony Wonseski, senior civil engineer with SVE Associates in Brattleboro, Vt., which is doing the site/civil survey for the project.

As a condition of its site plan approval, the Planning Board has required that two of the six handicapped spots originally planned for the bottom of the garage near the Olive Street entrance be moved up to the Bank Row entrance to provide easier access to Main Street.

The parking garage is an open design with a brick veneer on the outside. There is a memorandum of understanding with the state and town historical commissions that the new garage will include some sort of historic transportation component.

Fifteen existing bas-relief panels from the former Sweeney Ford building have been incorporated into the design, with the largest panel going on the outside of the building next to the Olive Street entrance.

“They are quite the art element. They’re really beautifully made and very unusual,” said Margo Jones of Jones-Whitsett Architects.

Other transportation-themed bas-reliefs will be used as markers for wayfinding on the garage’s five floors. Panels featuring a car, train, airplane, covered wagon and a hot air balloon will be installed in the stairway on each of the floors, making it easier for people to remember where they parked.

Jones said some of the garage’s brickwork will relate to the design motifs of the former Hapco auto parts building, which was razed to make room for the project.

“We’re also having a video monitor (installed on an outside wall) which will be able to talk about the history of transportation in Greenfield, and Greenfield’s Historical Commission is happy about that. They’ll be working on a video for it,” Jones said.

She said the town plans to install solar panels on the roof at a later date. Jones said the panels will make the structure completely sustainable, as it does not require much electricity.

As part of the project, several utilities will have to be relocated underneath The Recorder parking lot next door.

“Ultimately, relocating these utilities will be a huge benefit to the town because they’ll be new, they’ll be strong,” Wonseski said.

The parking garage project has been in the works for a decade. Greenfield received $7.5 million in state funding last October, and the town will pay the remaining $2.5 million for the project. The town had applied for state money four times in the past, but was turned down each time.

“It’s nicely designed. I think it’s going to be a great amenity,” said Planning Board alternate Charles Roberts.

“For people coming to visit, it’s one of the first impressions and one of the last impressions, so it’s important to think about that throughout this process,” said Wesley Wilson of Desman Design.

You can reach Aviva Luttrell at:
aluttrell@recorder.com
or 413-772-0261, ext. 268
On Twitter: @AvivaLuttrell