2018-04-19 / Letters

Letter writer has solution to parking in downtown

To the editor:

Imagine saving the city of Biddeford $10 million?

Biddeford City Councilors are on the verge of rubber stamping a $12 million 400-space parking garage. That’s $30,000 per parking space.

Regarding the Lincoln Mill project, the banner is gone and the project remains in a holding pattern. It was stated in the April 5 Courier that LHL Holdings was granted a 99-year lease for surrounding parking contingent that the plans include a hotel. Even without the hotel, the city manager said the lease on the parking would remain. Why? We could use legal advice here. Why should the lease on the parking remain, if the plan no longer includes a hotel? There is a lot of money involved here. The city should return the money the developer paid ($1) for a 99-year lease for 60 spaces, which are less than a stone’s throw away from the proposed parking garage. Those 60 spaces at $30,000 per space have a total valuation of $1.8 million. Imagine giving up $1.8 million dollars worth of parking, for $1 dollar. Is that insane, or what?

Instead of the city making only $1 every 99 years for those 60 spaces, we could lease them out at today’s rental rate of $2,400 per month or $28,800 per year, to the tenants of the Lincoln Mill apartments, if that project ever comes to fruition. As the mayor often says, it would be more bang for the buck.

With the addition of those 60 spaces, the so-called need for a 400-space garage diminishes to a 340-space garage. We should also invest an estimated $1.3 million to add 200 more parking spaces to an already existing 116 spaces on the city-owned former MERC site, for a grand total of 376 parking spaces. If in the future (10 to 20 years from now), the city ever needed additional parking, we could always build up.

With that said, for an estimated cost of $1.3 million, city officials have no need to circumvent the people of Biddeford, no need for paid parking in downtown Biddeford, no need for a high interest revenue bond and no need for a $12 million-plus parking garage.

It’s worth debating – who in this community could possibly object to saving $10 million? We’ll see.

Lionel Beaudoin Biddeford

Return to top