January 10, 2018

Worcester chamber urges parking garage repairs

Zachary Comeau
The Pearl-Elm Municipal Parking Garage is in need of repairs, business and city officials say.

In a letter to Mayor Joseph Petty, the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday urged the city to undergo an extensive renovation and repair of the Pearl/Elm public parking garage.

The garage, the chamber says, is in complete disrepair to the point where downtown employers and businesses can't rely on the garage's elevators to work.

"Last week, none of the elevators were functioning for several days," read the letter, which was penned by Stuart Loosemore, the chamber's general counsel and director of government affairs and public policy.

In the letter, which was also sent to the city council and City Manager Edward Augustus, the chamber calls on the city to develop a detailed plan to repair the dilapidated garage.

The downtown area serviced by the garage, the chamber wrote, composes 47 percent of the overall commercial industrial tax base of the city.

The chamber wrote the city council has, for three straight years, adopted a tax rate taxing businesses at the highest possible rate.

"A continued failure to meet existing business basic infrastructure needs risks our ability to fully leverage the development momentum underway in downtown and attract additional jobs to the city," Loosemore wrote.

Paul Moosey, commissioner of the city Department of Public Works & Parks said there is already a project in the works, and the projected $16-million repair and renovation has been posted for companies to prequalify for bidding. So far, 100 have submitted prequalification applications.

The garage, Moosey said, needs an extensive amount of work, including structural repairs, new stairwells, electrical work, new elevators and a new facade.

"It's a major renovation," he said.

The project would be phased in order to keep the garage at least partially open during the construction, Moosey said.


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