Updated 09/07/2012 05:19 PM
Saratoga Springs leaders sell Broadway parking lot for redevelopment
It was negotiated several years ago, but earlier this week, Saratoga Springs city leaders finally came to terms on a deal to sell the public parking lot next to Lillian's restaurant. As YNN's Matt Hunter reports, locals have mixed feelings about the deal.
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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – "It's nion impossible to find a parking space downtown during the racing meet," said Doreen Kent, who, along with her husband, has been splitting her time between her homes in Virginia and Saratoga.
"You just have to get here early and you can't leave on lunch or else you're not going to find a spot again," Saratoga Springs resident Marisa Flynn said.
As new development continues to pop up in the Spa City, motorists say the hunt to find a parking spot on Broadway is becoming harder and harder. Earlier this week, almost 40 more spots were taken away when the city finalized a deal to sell the public lot adjacent to Lillian's Restaurant.
"I would hope that they would replace it with some more places to park," Kent said after learning the news.
"It's tough to park five or six blocks away and walk to get to the restaurants that you love," Flynn said.
The lot, which is already closed, has been sold by the city to developer Sonny Bonacio for $750,000. Roughly 60 years after a fire destroyed the building that used to stand there, Bonacio plans to build a structure with a commercial property downstairs and apartments above.
"It becomes tax base again,” Saratoga Springs Mayor Scott Johnson said Friday. “It's taking it off the city rolls, putting it back on the tax rolls and that translates into an economic benefit for the city."
While the loss of the parking spaces may be an inconvenience to some, Johnson believes the city's new $5 million, 450 space parking garage a block away on Woodlawn Avenue is more than enough to make up the difference and should ease residents' concerns.
The proceeds of the lot near Lillian’s will also help cover the cost of the garage.
"That's a big expansion that should more than satisfy those that need parking downtown," Johnson said.
"The parking garages are nice, but at my age, humping up that hill after you park your car, you're so tired that you want to go back to your car and go home," Kent said.
"Business is booming on Broadway so they'd be silly not to take up what little land they have,” Flynn said. “So as long as they keep building parking garages, I'm happy."