The city faces an additional loss of parking as Mayor Gabriel J. Campana brings forward a proposal by an as-yet unnamed developer who wants to build a senior citizen apartment building on a parking lot managed by the Williamsport Parking Authority.
Campana announced Monday that he found a buyer who wants to pay the city $250,000 for the 45 spaces at the corner of Mulberry Street and Via Bella and said he must speak to City Council and the authority more about the concept before identifying the buyer.
No specific plan has been presented on what the city plans to do if those parking spaces are lost or where replacement spots would be found.
Some of the lot's current spaces are seldom used, but it also has some monthly parkers, according to William E. Nichols Jr., director of city finance.
"We'll have to address where these people have to park," he said. "It's not like it has to be done today."
The city faces a possible parking shortage once the Mid-Town Parking Garage on West Third is torn down in the spring should all financing issues be completed, Nichols said.
"We have a long-term strategy to deal with lost parking spaces," he said. "We're always looking at our parking strategy, and that will add to the mix of what we need to do."
Parking authority Chairman Dr. Anthony Cipolla told the Sun-Gazette the loss of 45 spaces to make room for the senior housing won't impact those parking downtown until the demolition and construction phases of the Mid-Town garage.
"It's better to lose those parking spaces to housing than to have cars continue to park on them," Cipolla said.
The 300-space Mid-Town garage is scheduled to be razed in the spring to make room for a more expansive garage to be known as the Trade and Transit Centre II. Campana said he sees benefits to having what he claims to be the "first senior citizens residential component in the central business district."
"Seniors could enjoy the benefits of downtown," he said.
He also sees the proposed development as a way to generate revenue through collection of a building permit fee, real estate and business privilege taxes.