LACONIA — The City Council this week approved an arrangement with the Congregational Church of Laconia that will enable the city to add a half dozen public parking space to the central downtown lot.
Endorsed by the Downtown Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Advisory Board, the arrangement arose from the church's construction of a public walkway between the church and parish hall connecting the parking lot and Veterans Square beneath a pedestrian bridge between the two buildings.
The church has granted the city an easement with a term of 50 years at the rear of the church for nine parking spaces, which the city will construct and pave at an estimated cost of $35,000 to $40,000. Six of the spaces will be open for public parking and three spaces will be reserved for the church. The driveway curb cut leading from Pleasant Street to rear of the church buildings will be closed, enabling the city to stripe an additional parallel parking space on Pleasant Street.
When Councilor David Bownes (Ward 2) questioned the arrangement, City Manager Scott Myers explained that the city had relinquished two parking spaces to make room for the dumpster required by the Holy Grail Restaurant and Pub along with several spaces behind the old police station on Church Street to accommodate its conversion to the studios of Binnie Media. The church, he said, offered an opportunity to recover foregone parking spaces.
NOTE: Two snow storms and freezing rain in March added to the deficit in the winter maintenance budget, which will rise again when the cost of the April snowfall is tallied. The March storms cost $44,716, pushing expenditures to $489,226, or $83,226 more than the $406,000 budgeted.
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