Letter: Parking lot plan should consider environment

To the Editor:

As a long-standing downtown resident, the March 1, 2018, headline “Parking lot plans include 63 spots” caught my attention. My first question was where, next was when, and my final was how much? As I read the article, my questions were answered but it brought forth a much larger concern, one centered on the development costs. Can our town officials support spending $600,000 for a parking lot that will cause further damage to the fragile watercourse in the heart of our downtown?

The area in question is a small parcel of land behind the Boys & Girls Club. The area is covered with trees and contains a stream which regularly floods. Interestingly, over the last nine months this small plot has been subject to the installation of drain pipes as well as digging and tree clearing.  

The downtown area is in the midst of a state-funded revamping. The state DOT has been studying our downtown and traffic patterns as part of its efforts to update Main Street, a state highway with a current F rating. The state will be meeting with concerned townspeople again on March 22 in the Town Hall Annex to discuss this project. A project which already includes changes to the Main and Prospect Street intersection, paving of Main Street, as well as new cutouts and walkways from the intersection of Governor Street through Catoonah and Bailey.   Why would this parking area not be included as a part of the state discussions?

I am all for improving our town; yet, I want to ensure our town development path is planned and considerate of the environment. The desire to build a parking lot on the town land off of Governor Street and abutting the Casey depot requires attention. This item is slated to be discussed as part of the town capital budgets. Please participate in our town budget meetings to help ensure the $600,000 parking lot receives proper environmental consideration.

Gina Carey

East Ridge Road, March 5