By Joyce M. Miles
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Contractors’ bids are due Friday for the work of dismantling the city parking garage and putting a surface lot in its place.
Once the bid is awarded, probably by mid-month, the biggest construction job on Main Street since the raising of Ulrich City Centre in 2005-06 will get under way. The city wants the job done within 90 days of bid award, according to engineering consultant Michael Marino, of Conestoga Rover Associates.
The city planning board on Monday approved Conestoga Rover’s design of a 42-slot surface parking lot to be installed over the base of the existing parking garage.
The board did place several conditions on the plan, including one directing the engineer to consider using something other than pachysandra as ground cover on the dirt slopes that will lead away from the guard-railed parking lot toward neighboring parcels on Main and Pine streets.
There is some concern about pachysandra not taking root quickly and well enough to hold the dirt in place, according to City Attorney John Ottaviano.
The surface lot will be installed within the footprint of the existing, pre-fabricated concrete parking garage, which will be taken apart in sections; no wrecking ball required.
Since the garage basically is built into a hill — there is a 20-foot elevation change between its back and front on Main Street — the engineering plan calls for the bases of existing walls to be left in place, at varying heights, and the area between them to be backfilled. The north side of the garage supports a Main Street retaining wall and therefore cannot be pulled up, according to Marino.
Traffic will enter and exit the surface lot from Main Street only. The design plan calls for addition of lighting fixtures to match the fixtures along Main Street.
It also calls for removal of the staircase leading from the parking garage to the roof of the Electric Building, which is known locally as an Erie Canal overlook. The roof of the Electric Building presently isn’t fit for public assembly, due to stormwater ponding, Marino said.
The parking lot is being designed in such a way that stairs can be reinstalled, and/or the lot converted to a ready building site, at a later date, he added.
Also, the plan calls for additional landscaping at Fountain Park, the area between the parking garage and Urban Park Towers where the Lockport Walk of Fame is placed. Mayor Michael Tucker said the honorary bricks will be pulled up and relaid closer to Main Street, and flowers and a flag pole will be added, to make the Walk of Fame more “prominent.”
Tucker is looking at reviving the civic committee-led Walk of Fame program, which hasn’t honored a local notable in at least 10 years, he added.
The process of dismantling the existing parking garage will take about two to three weeks, according to Conestoga Rover. No portion of Main Street will be closed to through traffic, but the section of Pine from Main north to Old City Hall will be during dismantling, Tucker said.
The mayor’s office is aiming to organize an open meeting, sometime next week, to update downtown business owners on the construction staging and schedule.