Editorial: Garage plans

Greenfield residents can testify to the fact that Rome wasn’t built in a day.

That’s because of the pace they’ve witnessed in getting just about anything done over the years, especially building projects.

We don’t know the first time that talk of a municipal parking garage began making the rounds of Town Hall, but guess that it was probably decades ago.

We do know, however, that the idea has been gaining considerable steam since the arrival of William Martin on the scene; he began trying to move the concept forward when he headed the Greenfield Redevelopment Authority ... and that was five years ago.

As mayor for the past four years, Martin has also been at the forefront in trying to get a municipal parking garage off the drawing board and onto a street corner somewhere in town.

Unfortunately, Greenfield seems no closer today to turning this proposal into a reality than it was back then.

While there have been plenty of obstacles, including some resistance within the community to taking down the former Hapco building on Olive Street, the biggest roadblock has been money. And unfortunately for those who continue to see a parking garage as an integral part of the redevelopment of downtown Greenfield, it doesn’t look like the finances are going to be in place anytime soon.

“We haven’t been able to secure funding for it yet, but we’re still working on it,” Martin told a Recorder reporter last week. “We still have options we’re looking into.”

One of those options is to reapply for a grant through the MassWorks Infrastructure Program. The town sought $9.3 million last year and was turned down. The question that has to be answered is what has changed in the town’s application that might make the answer different this time. We know that the project has been scaled back during the last couple of years, but the mayor should be letting people know why Greenfield officials think they have a better chance this year.

We also think that “Plan B” for financing the garage should have already been decided in the months since the town was turned down. That way, there could be some momentum when it comes to the building of the garage.

Right now, it’s an idea that remains too much in the air, leaving everybody wondering. And as the state moves forward in renovating the courthouse, building a parking garage isn’t something that should be thrown into the mix.

Come to think of it, perhaps the parking garage project is going at the right pace.

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