For a very long time in the city of Williamsport, downtown parking has been a difficult equation to perfect.
The dilemma has always been providing parking in adequate numbers and proximity while not overusing available property that could otherwise be an office, lodging, restaurant or retail outlet.
Nuances unique to downtowns such as closing off certain streets to traffic only complicate the dilemma.
Parking decks, surface lots and curbs have been the composite strategy for providing adequate center city parking.
The latest plan includes a 246-stall replacement for the Mid-Town parking garage at West Third and Laurel streets, but that plan has grown murky with loss of some of the funding planned for it.
Businessmen appeared at a recent Williamsport Parking Authority meeting to suggest that the cleared property be made into a surface parking lot rather than a parking deck. Anthony J. Cipollo, chairman of the authority, couched the dilemma as building a "Taj Mahal" or favoring moderate parking structures throughout the city.
Campana administration officials were irked by the characterization and pointed out the loss of parking spaces that would arise from such a philosophy.
The answer, we believe, will uncover itself.
What funding alternatives are there to allow the city to do the best it can to provide the necessary parking to handle a multiple-use downtown while not hitting local taxpayers with the bill?
At every turn, city agencies, City Council and the administration have to answer that question regarding parking facilities downtown.