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There’s still plans for parking garage; mayor to ask TC to buy Hapco building from GRA

The former Hapco auto parts store on Olive St.  Recorder/Paul Franz

The former Hapco auto parts store on Olive St. Recorder/Paul Franz Purchase photo reprints »

GREENFIELD — The mayor says plans for a municipal parking garage off of Olive Street and Bank Row are not dead.

Mayor William Martin said he plans to ask Town Council to approve about $160,000 to purchase the former Hapco building from the Greenfield Redevelopment Authority, because he believes the town has a better chance of securing funding the garage project will need.

The GRA bought the property in 2008 in anticipation of the town building a municipal garage.

Martin said he believes the town can work with state agencies to receive the funding it needs to build the garage, and can borrow money that could be paid back through parking revenues.

“I think the town has a better path toward getting this project going,” said Martin.

He said the town would pay the GRA between $150,000 and $160,000 — what it cost for the authority to buy the property, along with interest and any other expenses it has incurred over the past five years.

“The town will work with legislators and apply for money from the state’s transportation bill,” said Martin. “We’re hoping we’ll find out this spring whether we can move forward.”

The mayor said he is still determined to build a three- to four-story municipal parking garage on the corner of Bank Row and Olive Street; it’s just taking longer than he had hoped.

Martin said with plans for passenger rail to come to Greenfield by the end of this year, and courthouse renovations expected to be completed in a few years, he’d like to see the garage, which would have about 300 spaces, built within the next two to three years.

“We keep looking at funding options,” said Martin.

MassWorks turned the town down when it asked in 2012 for $9.3 million to build the garage.

Martin said the garage will most likely cost between $5 million and $7 million to build.

Martin said he has not ruled out the possibility of the town funding the project with a combination of grants and a revenue bond.

“We don’t want the project to cost taxpayers,” said Martin.

The mayor said there is too much activity in Greenfield’s downtown to not have a municipal parking garage.

In 2008, while Martin was chairman of the GRA and a year before he became mayor, the authority bought the former Hapco property for $130,000. Its intention was to raze the now 94-year-old building to make way for the garage.

A couple of site assessments have been done on the property and a preliminary geotechnical engineering study has been completed.

The town also did parking and circulation analyses, a downtown parking study and a preliminary schematic design report.

The town has spent about $650,000 in grants so far to pay for the preliminary reports and assessments.

The state Historical Commission has given the town permission to raze the building, which had been deemed eligible to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places. In return, the town has agreed to incorporate some features of the building into the construction of the parking garage.

The town’s 2008 parking study revealed that parking is an important part of downtown revitalization and a recent update confirmed that assessment.

You can reach Anita Fritz at: afrtiz@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 280

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