Hartford Mulls Spending $2.5M For New Garage At Public Safety Complex
Would Address Parking Shortage
By JENNA CARLESSO
March 11, 2013
HARTFORD —— The city is proposing setting aside $2.5 million to build a new parking structure near its public safety complex to address concerns over a shortage of parking at the facility, which opened in January.
Officials said the garage would be a multi-tiered structure that would accommodate 250 cars, to be built at or adjacent to the complex on High Street. The money is proposed for the city's 2013-14 budget.
Shortly after completing the move to the new public safety complex, some members of the police department raised concerns over the lack of secure parking at the $77 million facility.
Officers, sergeants, detectives and other non-command staff members in the police department have been asked to park their personal vehicles in a gravel lot across the street from the complex, police said. The lot is fenced, but the gates are not locked.
All police cruisers and other city vehicles are parked in a secure garage adjacent to the public safety complex. The police department's command staff — many of whom have take-home privileges with their cruisers — and internal affairs sergeants also park in the garage.
Police union President Richard Holton has said that some officers were concerned about the visibility of their personal vehicles, and the possibility of vandalism. At the former police station on Jennings Road, police parked in a lot behind the building, set back from the road and largely out of the public view.
Holton said Monday that as city administrators consider spending for 2013-14, the parking garage should be a priority.
"I would like to see them keep that in the budget," Holton said. "It's something they need to do, to make vehicles more secure, and [provide] more parking."
Holton said he would like to see a garage that would accommodate at least 300 parking spaces.
"When the building was planned, unfortunately they did not plan for enough parking," Saundra Kee Borges, Hartford's interim chief operating officer, said during a public budget meeting last week, during which the proposed parking structure was discussed. She noted that some police were using the gravel lot nearby.
"We need to get that [garage] either on location or somewhere immediately adjacent to it," she said.
In the meantime, Kee Borges has said, the city is working to ensure the gravel lot is well-lit and monitored by cameras.
Hartford is facing a roughly $70 million deficit in fiscal year 2013-14. Mayor Pedro Segarra's proposed budget for that year will be released on April 15.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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