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Gov. OKs $5M for parking garage

The area including the Hapco building and adjacent parking lot off of Olive Street in Greenfield is the site of a proposed parking garage. 
Recorder/Paul Franz

The area including the Hapco building and adjacent parking lot off of Olive Street in Greenfield is the site of a proposed parking garage. Recorder/Paul Franz Purchase photo reprints »

GREENFIELD — Plans for a downtown parking garage apparently can move forward from a decades-old idea into reality, possibly within the next two years.

A joint Senate and House committee this week approved a $5 million earmark for a municipal parking structure, envisioned off Olive Street, as part of a statewide transportation bond bill signed by Gov. Deval Patrick Friday.

“The garage is one of town’s major unfinished projects of the Bank Row Urban Renewal Zone,” Mayor William Martin said Friday. Town officials envision a garage that would cost between $5 million and $7 million, meaning, they say, this transportation bond bill will make the garage possible.

“I have to give accolades to Sen. (Stanley) Rosenberg and Rep. (Paul) Mark, as well as the Legislature for seeing the need for providing parking to residents and travelers through Greenfield,” said Martin.

The mayor was confident that the governor would approve the parking garage, because “the governor knows Greenfield’s ambitious agenda, and I feel he supports that agenda.”

Rosenberg said in February that the parking garage was going to be one of his top five priorities going into discussions about what to include in the transportation bond bill.

The House approved $2.5 million for the project earlier this year, but the Senate sent it to the floor for debate at the original $5 million, and that’s what the two houses finally accepted.

“A parking garage is a critical element of the redevelopment of downtown Greenfield,” said Rosenberg. “With a new courthouse coming in a few years and the private investments that have been made to downtown buildings, there’s going to be a huge need for parking.”

Martin was the first to discuss the need for a municipal parking garage when he was chairman of the Greenfield Redevelopment Authority, before he was elected mayor in 2009.

The GRA bought the former Hapco auto parts building on Olive Street in 2008 in anticipation of building a parking garage on that site and adjacent municipal parking lots.

Earlier this year, Town Council approved the mayor’s request to purchase the building from the GRA .

Martin has always said he does not want the parking garage to cost local property tax payers. He said the town would also seek grants and other types of funding, if needed, to cover the rest of the cost.

The plan is to raze the former Hapco building. Town Council has already approved the $40,000 it will cost. The state Historical Commission has given the town permission to raze the Hapco 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 garage.

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

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